U.S. Water News Online
New York City --A full-page ad in a recent edition of the West Coast edition of the New York Times urges U.S. securities firms to stop funding the Three Gorges Dam. The ad, placed by International Rivers Network, appeared in the East Coast edition late last month. A lead editorial in the Times a week earlier supported the call for no U.S. investment in China's Three Gorges Dam.
"Opposition from abroad that halts the flow of foreign financing could still have an impact that would be healthy for the global environment in the long run, for China's people, and its economy," the New York Times editorial said.
"The New York Times understands that this dam is not a fait accompli. Withholding foreign support will strengthen the hand of project opponents in China and help to halt this monstrous project," said Owen Lammers, Executive Director of International Rivers Network.
The editorial follows the recent diversion of the Yangtze to make way for construction of what will be the biggest dam in the world.
In January 1997, Lehman Brothers, C.S. First Boston, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Smith Barney, and BancAmerica Securities underwrote a $330 million bond issue for the State Development Bank of China. A second bond issue is scheduled before the end of the year. The leading creditor of the State Development Bank is the Three Gorges Project Development Corporation.
A bond issue in Japan for the State Development Bank of China was canceled earlier this year following public discovery that the proceeds would help finance the Three Gorges Dam.
Following is the text of IRN's advertisement:
"The Three Gorges Dam is the largest, most environmentally and socially destructive project on earth. And the Chinese government. wants you to pay for it. U.S. firms have already underwritten bonds issued for the State Development Bank of China for Three Gorges Dam. Lehman Brothers, Smith Barney, Inc., J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Company Incorporated, and BancAmerica Securities, Inc. have joined Credit Suisse First Boston in helping money flow to the Three Gorges Dam.
"Within China the dam is bitterly opposed by scientists and concerned citizens who fear an economic and ecological catastrophe. But since Tiananmen Square these voices are no longer heard. And the reason is simple. The Three Gorges Dam is a political project inspired by Mao Tse Tung as a monument to the pride of an authoritarian government.
"The Chinese people want clean, inexpensive electricity and protection against floods. But experts worldwide believe that Three Gorges Dam can't control the Yangtze, nor meet China's electricity demands. Within 50 years the sediment-laden Yangtze will fill much of the reservoir, impairing power production and impeding navigation.
"Contrary to media reports, completion of the dam is not guaranteed. The costs are as absurd as the size of the dam. As late as 1992, the official cost of the dam was $11 billion. Estimates now exceed $75 billion. We urge you to call your fund managers and insist that your money does not get funneled into Three Gorges Dam. Urge them to invest instead in appropriate energy and river management projects in China. Because the last thing the people of China need is a monument to an obsolete regime."
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