Executive Briefings

Study of Environmental Impact of Nicaragua's Proposed Cross-country Canal Criticized as Inadequate

Nicaragua's mega canal could become a mega mistake, according to a warning issued by an international panel.

Study of Environmental Impact of Nicaragua's Proposed Cross-country Canal Criticized as Inadequate

The group of experts, brought together by Florida International University, claim that the $50bn proposed canal could prove disastrous for Nicaragua if a proper evaluation of the canal’s impact is not undertaken.

A report released this week summarizes the comments and concerns raised the panel of experts who reviewed an early draft of the environmental impact study for the Nicaragua canal. The panelists reviewed ecological and hydrological assessments for project back in March. They found the evaluations were narrow in scope and did not take into account the full impact of the construction and operation of canal facilities.

The canal would extend across the country from the Pacific Ocean on the west coast to the Caribbean Sea in the east.

In particular the experts raise concern over the short time-table of the study. The study was conducted in 1.5 years, while similar smaller-scale projects typically look at large time periods to conduct their assessments. A proposed 1970s sea-level canal through Panama spent 10 years determining environmental feasibility before scrapping the project.

Similarly, the Three Gorge Dam project in China, which was smaller in scope than the Nicaraguan canal, went ahead based on an environmental study of roughly the same magnitude. The experts claim that the Three Gorge Dam project, has since become a prime example of the unanticipated environmental costs of megaprojects, from frequent landslides to water pollution and even increased seismic activity.

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The group of experts, brought together by Florida International University, claim that the $50bn proposed canal could prove disastrous for Nicaragua if a proper evaluation of the canal’s impact is not undertaken.

A report released this week summarizes the comments and concerns raised the panel of experts who reviewed an early draft of the environmental impact study for the Nicaragua canal. The panelists reviewed ecological and hydrological assessments for project back in March. They found the evaluations were narrow in scope and did not take into account the full impact of the construction and operation of canal facilities.

The canal would extend across the country from the Pacific Ocean on the west coast to the Caribbean Sea in the east.

In particular the experts raise concern over the short time-table of the study. The study was conducted in 1.5 years, while similar smaller-scale projects typically look at large time periods to conduct their assessments. A proposed 1970s sea-level canal through Panama spent 10 years determining environmental feasibility before scrapping the project.

Similarly, the Three Gorge Dam project in China, which was smaller in scope than the Nicaraguan canal, went ahead based on an environmental study of roughly the same magnitude. The experts claim that the Three Gorge Dam project, has since become a prime example of the unanticipated environmental costs of megaprojects, from frequent landslides to water pollution and even increased seismic activity.

Read Full Article

Study of Environmental Impact of Nicaragua's Proposed Cross-country Canal Criticized as Inadequate