Laos held a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday for a $3.5 billion hydropower dam on the Mekong River that is opposed by environmentalists and neighboring countries

Laos Dam Across Mekong Criticized by US

Highly Cited

-Wall Street Journal-Nov 5, 2012

Laos Denies Move to Start Dam Project

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By BEN OTTO

VIENTIANE, Laos—The Laotian prime minister denied Tuesday the imminent start of construction on a proposed dam that has upset environmentalists and the country’s neighbors downstream on the Mekong River, and prompted an expression of concern from the U.S.

“I confirm that there is no groundbreaking” set for Wednesday on the $3.5 billion Xayaburi dam, Thongsing Thammavong told The Wall Street Journal, contradicting media reports a day earlier that had cited a government minister.

Plans for the dam are still subject to “further study,” he said through a translator, after chairing an Asia-Europe summit in this Southeast Asian nation.

“It’s not real,” he said of the reports. “It’s only…organizing a small group of media to visit, and some concerned people, scientists and other people.”

Laos has said it wouldn’t begin work on the dam, part of an ambitious plan for dams along the Mekong, before addressing concerns over the impacts, especially on downstream fishing in the river that supports an estimated 60 million people, and irrigation.

But news reports this week said that Laos was about to begin construction and that it claimed to have addressed the concerns.

Thailand has agreed to buy most of the power from the 1,260-megawatt dam, but some Thai residents who say their livelihoods will be damaged have sued a Thai company involved in the project.

Vietnam and Cambodia have sharply criticized the planned project.

The U.S. State Department on Monday said that while it recognizes the important economic role of dams in managing water resources, “our own experience has made us acutely aware of the economic, social and environmental impacts that large infrastructure can have over the long term.”

Write to Ben Otto at ben.otto@dowjones.co


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Laos holds groundbreaking ceremony for contentious Mekong dam

Reuters – ‎1 hour ago‎
XAYABURI, Laos (Reuters) – Laos held a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday for a $3.5 billion hydropower dam on the Mekong River that is opposed by environmentalists and neighboring countries because of the possible impact on livelihoods,

Laos Breaks Ground for Controversial Mekong Dam

New York Times – ‎3 hours ago‎
By THOMAS FULLER. Published: November 7, 2012. BANGKOK — Laos inaugurated the construction of a controversial dam on the Mekong River on Wednesday, despite comments from the country’s prime minister that the project had been delayed.

Laos Presses Ahead With Mekong Dam Project

New York Times – ‎Nov 6, 2012‎
BANGKOK — Ignoring criticism that a huge hydroelectric dam could irreparably damage the ecology of the Mekong River, the government of Laos said on Tuesday that it was pushing ahead with the multibillion-dollar project, the first dam to be built on the

Laos to begin building hotly debated Xayaburi dam this week

Los Angeles Times – ‎Nov 6, 2012‎
The Xayaburi dam is expected to reap profits for Laos by generating hydropower to sell to Thailand. The $3-billion-plus project would be the first major dam on the lower part of the Mekong, a massive waterway that provides food and jobs to millions of people

Laos Dam Across Mekong Criticized by US

Wall Street Journal – ‎Nov 5, 2012‎
WASHINGTON—The U.S. is criticizing Laos’ decision to build the first dam across the mainstream of the Mekong River, which environmentalists say could affect tens of millions of livelihoods and trigger a dam-building spree along Southeast Asia’s mightiest

US criticizes Laos decision to build dam across Mekong River, says ecological …

Washington Post – ‎Nov 5, 2012‎
WASHINGTON — The United States on Monday criticized a decision by the struggling Asian nation of Laos to build the first dam across the mainstream of the Mekong River, a project that environmentalists warn could affect tens of millions of livelihoods and

US warns Laos over Xayaburi dam

Asia Times Online – ‎5 hours ago‎
“In addition, we would hope that donors to Laos’s electricity and infrastructure sectors, such as the Asian Development Bank and the Japanese government, would reconsider their ongoing development assistance to a government that refuses to comply with

Thailand Backs Laos Move to Build Mekong Dam, Surapong Says

Bloomberg – ‎Nov 6, 2012‎
“The Lao government conducted studies that showed the development will not have environmental impacts as many people are concerned,” Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul told reporters today in Vientiane, where he is attending a summit of

Laos Gives Go-Ahead to Build Controversial Dam

Voice of America (blog) – ‎Nov 5, 2012‎
Laos, one of Asia’s poorest countries, is pushing forward with the Thailand-backed project, despite objections by Cambodia and Vietnam, which say it could affect fish stocks and farming along the nearly 5,000 kilometer river. Deputy Energy Minister

Laos going ahead with Mekong dam project

UPI.com – ‎16 hours ago‎
Laotian government officials and executives of the Thai company hired to build the dam will officially inaugurate the multibillion-dollar project at a ceremony Wednesday in northwestern Laos, The New York Times reported. Electricity from the project will be

Laos powers ahead with Mekong dam plan

Deutsche Welle – ‎18 hours ago‎
Laos powers ahead with Mekong dam plan. As Laos pushes on with plans to become a hydroelectric powerhouse for the region, plans have been set back in motion to build a giant dam on the Mekong River. However, there are fears it could set a dangerous

Laos to Start Building Mekong Dam This Week Amid Opposition

Businessweek – ‎Nov 5, 2012‎
Laos will start construction this week on a $3.6 billion hydropower dam on the Mekong River that has been delayed for 18 months amid opposition from downstream countries and activist groups. The groundbreaking ceremony will take place on Nov. 7 at the

Laos officially starts work on Xayaburi dam

Bangkok Post – ‎17 hours ago‎
Bangkok has officially taken a neutral stance but Washington has criticised the US$3.5 billion (108 billion baht) Xayaburi dam project. Environmentalists warn the dam could affect tens of millions of livelihoods, block migration routes for up to 100 fish species

Laos holds “ground-breaking” ceremony for contentious Mekong dam

Straits Times – ‎2 hours ago‎
XAYABURI (REUTERS) – Laos held a”ground-breaking” ceremony on Wednesday for a US$3.5 billion ($4.28 billion) hydropower dam on the Mekong River that is opposed by environmentalists and neighbouring countries because of the possible impact on

US urges Laos to address mega dam concerns

Phys.Org – ‎Nov 6, 2012‎
“We hope that the government of Laos will uphold its pledge to work with its neighbors in addressing remaining questions regarding Xayaburi. We encourage the MRC countries to continue to work together to realize their shared vision of an economically

Fighting U.S. pressure, Laos proceeds with super dam

GlobalPost (blog) – ‎Nov 5, 2012‎
Xayaburi laos dam 2012 11 06. Thai villagers affected by the construction of the Xayaburi dam in Laos hold models of fish in front of the administrative court in Bangkok on August 7, 2012. (PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images). this story is part of

Laos Gives Go Ahead To Build Controversial Dam

Voice of America (blog) – ‎Nov 5, 2012‎
Laos says it will start construction of a controversial dam, despite opposition from neighboring countries. Deputy Energy Minister Viraphonh Viravong says the groundbreaking ceremony will take place on Wednesday. The Xayaburi hydroelectric dam project

Laos approves Xayaburi ‘mega’ dam on Mekong

BBC News – ‎Nov 5, 2012‎
Laos has given the go-ahead to build a massive dam on the lower Mekong river, despite opposition from neighbouring countries and environmentalists. A formal ceremony marking the start of full construction at Xayaburi would be held on Wednesday, the

Xayaburi dam construction launched

Bangkok Post – ‎21 minutes ago‎
Laos on Wednesday held a ground-breaking ceremony to launch the riverbed construction stage of the Xayaburi hydropower dam on the lower Mekong River, which neighbours, environmentalists and Thai communities have opposed. The religious in

Laos approves Mekong dam despite objections

Bangkok Post – ‎Nov 5, 2012‎
Protests like this one in front of the Lao embassy in Bangkok in 2011 carried out by members of a people’s network representing riverside communities in eight provinces along the Mekong have slowed the construction of the Xayaburi dam, but not stopped it.

Laos to Break Ground on Dam

Radio Free Asia – ‎Nov 5, 2012‎
The decision drew criticism particularly from the United States, which cautioned Laos against going ahead with the dam’s construction without proper impact studies and in the absence of a consensus within a regional body which manages the development of

Laos pushes ahead with Mekong dam and risks destroying the region’s lifeblood

WWF International – ‎20 hours ago‎
Gland, Switzerland – The Lao government’s determination to plow ahead with construction of the controversial US$3.5-billion Xayaburi hydropower dam in northern Laos puts the mighty Mekong River’s spectacular biodiversity, rich fisheries and livelihoods

Laos to build massive dam on Mekong River

UPI.com – ‎Nov 5, 2012‎
VIENTIANE, Laos, Nov. 5 (UPI) — Laos says it is going ahead with the construction of a massive dam on the Mekong River despite protests from neighboring countries and environmentalists. A ceremony marking the start of construction of the $3.5 billion

Damming the Mekong River

National Geographic – ‎19 hours ago‎
Laos has announced plans to proceed immediately with the construction of an 820-meter-long hydroelectric dam across the Mekong River. Critics of the project say the Xayaburi dam, to be located in northern Laos, would be an ecological disaster for the

Laos to start building Mekong ‘mega dam’ this week

GlobalPost – ‎Nov 5, 2012‎
A boatman on the Mekong River, which is already experiencing major effects from dams built in China. The Xayaburi Dam on the Laotian part of the river could have devastating consequences for those who make their livings along the Mekong. (Samantha

Laos to start building Xayaburi dam

Bangkok Post – ‎Nov 5, 2012‎
Laos will this week start construction of the 120 billion baht hydropower Xayaburi dam on the Mekong River that has been delayed for 18 months amid fierce opposition from downstream countries and activist groups. The ground-breaking ceremony will take

Laos to start construction of mega dam ‘this week’

Radio Netherlands – ‎Nov 5, 2012‎
Laos on Monday said it would start construction of a controversial multi-billion dollar dam this week, after adapting the design to calm environmental concerns from neighbouring nations. “After two years of preparation the Laos government will have a ground

Thailand backs Mekong project

Gulf Times – ‎13 hours ago‎
“The Thai government is not opposed to the project,” said Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichachaikul, speaking at the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in the capital of Laos. “The Lao government has already conducted studies that show

A Dam Conundrum: Xayaburi Project Could Help Laos And Thailand, Hurt

International Business Times – ‎Nov 5, 2012‎
The revenues could have a big impact in Laos, which suffers high rates of poverty and depends on foreign aid to augment its meager GDP of about US$8.3 billion. Laotian officials hope that Xayaburi will be just the first of several dams built on the central vein

Laos to Start Construction of Mekong Dam

The Epoch Times – ‎Nov 5, 2012‎
“After two years of preparation the Laos government will have a ground breaking ceremony on November 7 and will then start working on the dam itself in the Mekong river this week,” Laos Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines Viraphonh Viravong told AFP.

Xayaburi dam to go ahead

The Interpreter – ‎10 hours ago‎
Finally, after months of equivocation, the Lao Minister for Energy and Mining, Viraphon Viravong, announced on 5 November that the Vientiane government will proceed with its plans to build the controversial dam at Xayaburi (pictured), roughly midway

Laos playing Mekong roulette with dam

eco-business.com – ‎21 hours ago‎
NGO International Rivers says a new Laos dam is playing roulette with the Mekong River by using unproven methods for preserving biodiversity and protecting communities downriver. Image: Giant Mekong catfish. ok4me2.net. Laos has approved the

Laos gives green light to mega-dam

The Times (subscription) – ‎Nov 5, 2012‎
Laos has given the go-ahead for a controversial mega dam on the lower Mekong river despite objections from neighbouring countries and environmentalists. A ground breaking ceremony to launch the multi-billion project will be held on Wednesday, after

Strengthening the foundations

Bangkok Post – ‎Nov 4, 2012‎
Preparatory work was taking place last year at the Xayaburi dam site despite pressure on the government of Laos to delay the project until more thorough environmental reviews are done. It is fair to say that Thai private companies have been in the forefront of

Court: Officers may have to pay fees in lawsuit

KEYC TV – ‎Nov 5, 2012‎
US criticizes Laos decision to build Mekong dam. The U.S. is criticizing a decision by the Asian nation of Laos to build the first dam across the mainstream of the Mekong River, which environmentalists say could affect tens of millions of livelihoods and trigger.

Thai Activists Set to Protest Xayaburi Dam at Asia-Europe Summit

OOSKA News – ‎Nov 5, 2012‎
Vientiane, Laos — Thai activists are planning “a flotilla protest” against Laos’ controversial Xayaburi Dam on the Mekong River during this week’s 9th Asia-Europe Meeting Summit in Vientiane. Asia · Cambodia · Ch. Karnachang · Europe · International rivers

Phuket’s daily world news round-up – Tuesday 6th November 2012

Phuketindex.com – ‎Nov 5, 2012‎
THAILAND bangkokpost.com – Dam you, Laos! Thai activists told Laos what they think of the decision to start full construction of the Xayaburi dam on Wednesday, but Laos told the Asia-Europe Meeting that the studies were over, and it is time to start digging.

Start to dam construction on lower Mekong River

Radio New Zealand – ‎Nov 5, 2012‎
Despite opposition from neighbouring countries and environmentalists, the government of Laos has given approval for full construction work on a dam on the lower Mekong River. The government said a formal ceremony marking the start of full construction at

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