Cambodia has decided to go ahead with the construction of a dam on a Mekong tributary, but conservation groups are concerned that not enough study has been done on the hydropower project’s environmental consequences.
Construction on the 400 megawatt Lower Sesan 2 dam in northwestern Cambodia’s Stung Treng province is set to begin in 2014, after the project received a stamp of approval from the country’s cabinet on Nov. 2.
A statement issued by the Council of Ministers said the decision came after eight years of research into the possible environmental and social consequences of the U.S. $800 million project to be undertaken by a Cambodia-China-Vietnam joint venture.
But green groups question the research findings, saying the studies have not been thorough.
Their concerns come after neighboring Laos decided two weeks ago to push ahead with the Xayaburi dam on the main Mekong River despite concerns by environmentalists.
U.S.-based Conservation International said in a statement this week that it is “highly concerned” about Cambodia’s plans to move forward with the Lower Sesan 2 dam, which it said could affect food security and the livelihoods of millions in the region.