Home > Local News, Mekong River > US welcomes delay in controversial Mekong dam

US welcomes delay in controversial Mekong dam

WASHINGTON — The United States on Tuesday welcomed a delay in
construction of a controversial dam on the Mekong River, voicing hope
that Southeast Asian nations would work to ensure it is environmentally
A Cambodian family rows a boat along the Mekong river in Phnom Penh on April 19
Cash-strapped Laos wants to go ahead with the $3.8 billion
Xayaburi dam which would generate hydropower for export, but a meeting
last week with officials from Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam put off a
The neighboring countries asked Laos for further study
of the dam amid warnings by environmentalists that it would seriously
impact fish, trigger algae growth and disrupt the lives of millions who
rely on the river.
“The United States welcomes the recognition by
riparian states of the need to consider fully the potential economic,
environmental and social impacts of hydropower development,” the US
State Department said in a statement.
“We encourage the countries
to continue to work together to realize their shared vision of an
economically prosperous, socially just and environmentally sound Mekong
River basin,” it said.
Senator Jim Webb, who heads the Senate
Foreign Relations subcommittee on East Asia, has pressed for an active
US role against construction of the dam which he argued would have
“devastating” consequences for the region.
Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton in 2009 launched a Lower Mekong initiative as part of a
drive to re-engage Southeast Asia, which the US administration charged
was overlooked during President George W. Bush’s tenure.
Barack Obama’s administration has worked with the four countries to
chart out the effects of climate change and last year offered nearly
$150 million to public health efforts including AIDS treatment.
Source: AFP
Categories: Local News, Mekong River
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