Case story

  • Mexico

OPIC Office of Accountability - Cerro de Oro Hydroelectric Project

Oaxaca, Mexico

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Story

Accountability Counsel filed complaints on November 30, 2010 on behalf of the villages of Paso Canoa and Santa Ursula, and on January 17, 2011 on behalf of the neighboring indigenous community of Cerro de Oro.

Accountability Counsel has been impressed by the project sponsor’s commitment to addressing the issues in a responsible and constructive manner.

The Complaint

The complaints detail harm caused by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (“OPIC”)-supported Cerro de Oro Hydroelectric Project. OPIC is an agency of the U.S. Government, which supports U.S. corporations engaged in foreign investment. Communities affected by OPIC projects may take their complaints to the Office of Accountability, an independent office established by Congress in 2005 to address community concerns. The Cerro de Oro complaint is the fifth ever received by the Office.

The communities’ complaint to the OPIC Office of Accountability requests that:

1. the project be immediately suspended;

2. an independent environmental impact assessment be conducted and mitigation plan be created;

3. the Project cease alterations to the La Sal Creek;

4. a complete record of Project documents be made available to the communities and presented in a manner that is easy to understand;

5. the Project sponsors fully comply with promises made to the communities and bring the Project into compliance with OPIC policy;

6. the Project sponsors provide documentation regarding the risks to health, created by the hydroelectric expansion and plans to avoid those risks; and that

7. negotiated agreements between the Project sponsor and Complainants address all remaining issues, including those regarding land use, health, and the environmental and social impacts of the Project.

Outcome

On March 11, 2011 in Tuxtepec, Oaxaca, Mexico, the communities of Paso Canoa, Santa Ursula, Cerro de Oro, and Los Reyes, and the companies Conduit Capital Partners, Comexhidro, and Electricidad de Oriente reached an agreement.

An update on the Accountability Counsel Website notes that "Accountability Counsel has been impressed by the project sponsor’s commitment to addressing the issues in a responsible and constructive manner."

Relevant Resources and Information

Documents

OPIC Final Report

Contributor(s): This article was modified by Kyle (7).