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Thermal Power Plants in Sapeacu, Brazil


The project of three heavy oil fired power plants by the company Multiner in the town of Sapeacu, State of Bahia, has been the target of protests and popular mobilization. These plants are designed with the objective of forming a reserve in energy infrastructure. In this way, the Federal Government intends to guarantee the supply to industrial plants in the region even in case of prolonged droughts that may impede the use of dams and to compensate for increased demand. The population was organized and founded the Termoeltricas Jamais Movement. This movement campaigned to prevent the licensing of the project, held protests and pressed state prosecutors to intervene in the case. They argued that Brazil has other ways of generating electricity that are not so damaging to the environment and peoples health, as thermal plants intensify global warming and result in climate change, among other local impacts. Under pressure from the peoples movement, the environmental State Council (Conselho Estadual de Meio Ambiente) repealed in June 2010 the environmental licenses that it had given three months before. Given this, and the threat of the Prosecutor to intervene in the case, the company suspended the projects. In celebration, residents of Sapeacu held a mass at the site.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Thermal Power Plants in Sapeacu, Brazil
State or province:Bahia
Location of conflict:Sapeacu
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Pollution related to transport (spills, dust, emissions)
Thermal power plants
Other industries
Specific commodities:Electricity
Fuel Oil For Thermoelectric Plants
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Project of 476 MW of installed power.

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Type of populationRural
Affected Population:20000
Company names or state enterprises:Multiner S/A from Brazil
Relevant government actors:Ministerio de Minas e Energia , Conselho Estadual do Meio Ambiente , Ministerio Publico Estadual , Ministerio Publico Federal , Instituto de Meio Ambiente do Estado da Bahia , Agencia Nacional de Energia Eletrica , Superintendencia do Desenvolvimento do Nordeste , Tribunal Regional Federal da Primeira Regiao
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Movimento Termoeletricas Jamais (MTJ)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Universidade Federal do Reconcavo Baiano (UFRB)
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Strengthening of participation
Application of existing regulations
Withdrawal of company/investment
The State Environmental Council under pressure ruled against the project.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The company suspended the project after petitions, rallies, demonstrations and representations to State environmental agencies and the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) and State (EPC/BA).
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

BORGES, Sivanildo da S. Manifestao contra termoeltricas alertou populao. Link Recncavo, Cruz das Almas, 07 jul. 2009. Disponvel em: Acesso em: 17 mai. 2010.
[click to view]

GRUPO AMBIENTALISTA NASCENTES. CEPRAM revoga licena de implantacao de termoeletrica em Sapeacu-BA. Disponvel em: Acesso em: 12 out. 2010.
[click to view]

Movimiento Termoelectricas Jamais:
[click to view]

GRUPO AMBIENTALISTA NASCENTES. CEPRAM revoga licena de implantaao de termoeletrica em Sapeacu-BA. Disponvel em: Acesso em: 12 out. 2010.
[click to view]

NUCLEO MATA ATLANTICA DO MINISTERIO PUBLICO DA BAHIA. Empresa recua na construcao de termeletricas em Sapeacu. Disponvel em: Acesso em: 12 out. 2010.
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Diogo Rocha
Last update18/08/2019
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