May 15, 2002
Protests reach Fortis shareholders:

News reports from protests at Fortis shareholder meeting

The Express, Newfoundland St. John's Telegram

CBC News Online May 16/2002 (CBC Disclosure; CBC St. John's)

Protesters greet shareholders of company building Belize dam

(St. John's, Newfoundland) - A small group of protesters stood in the rain
outside a hotel in St. John's Wednesday morning, speaking out against a
hydro dam project in Central America.

FROM DISCLOSURE: The Dam Canadians

Shareholders making their way into the annual meeting of Fortis Inc. had to
make their way past demonstrators armed with pamphlets attacking the
company's Challilo Dam project in Belize.

Fortis, an electrical distribution and real estate conglomerate in
Newfoundland and Labrador, plans to build a hydro dam on the Macal
River.

Proponents say the project would provide something the small country
bordering Mexico and Guatemala needs: a reliable source of energy at a
low price.

But the protesters say the real cost is too high.

The dam would flood nine square kilometres of environmentally sensitive
rain forest, drowning the habitats of vulnerable wildlife.

Eligorio Sho is a Maya Indian and naturalist who made the journey from
Belize to St. John's to take part in the demonstration.

Sho studies the rare scarlet macaw. There are about 1,000 of the birds left
in the world, and about one-quarter of them live in Belize.

FROM CBC ST. JOHN'S: Challilo Coverage on Community Radio

He says when the floods come, the macaw will have no place to nest.

"How far that nest is going to go under the water? It's going to go under
the water 150 feet," he said. "All the food source from the river for those
wildlife not only scarlet macaw, but we have jaguar, we have tapir, we
have crocodile, we have king fisher. They feed on those trees you know.

"Where are they going to go?"

The protest ended once all the shareholders had gone inside. But the
protesters said they'll continue to raise public awareness about the dam
and its impact.

Many of the shareholders said they don't know what to think, but some
want to hear what the environmentalists have to say.

"All I want to find out is if they are for real or what we are doing is either
right or wrong," said Henrietta Ellis. "Because believe me, I'm for the
environment."

Stan Marshall, the head of Fortis, says it's up to the government of Belize
to determine on the future of the proposed dam.

But environmentalist groups such as the Sierra Club disagree, saying the
courts will decide if the proposed dam can go ahead or not. Two separate
lawsuits are set to begin in June.

            
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