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Court ruling does not affect transmission project for HidroAysen hydro complex in Chile

A local court ruling against the 2,750-MW HidroAysen hydropower project slated for Chile's southern region XI will not affect the submission of an EIA for the scheme's US$3 billion transmission line, a spokesman for the JV responsible for the project told wire services.

HidroAysen has said it plans to submit an EIA for its 2,000 km power line linking the project to capital Santiago by the end of 2011, Business News Americas reported.

A court in the southern city of Puerto Montt upheld an appeal lodged by several Chilean senators and environmental groups challenging the legality of the decision to approve the project. The appeal argues that at least three different environmental issues not covered in the project's latest EIA were overlooked by the regulators who approved the project.

According to HidroAysen, the latest court ruling does not affect the legality of the project, though a temporary suspension to the development of the scheme is in place following the court's decision.

Environmental authorities in region XI approved the HidroAysen project in early May after a lengthy permitting process. The scheme envisions the construction of five dams across the Baker and Pascua rivers.

Chilean generators Endesa Chile and Colbun are behind the US$7 billion project.

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