Paddler, filmmaker, and conservationist Evan Stafford is embarking on a new film project in Patagonia, Chile, where he will document the repercussions of a proposed hydroelectric project in the region.
“HidroAysen is a hydroelectric proposal, which, if completed, would place five massive dams on the Baker and Pascua rivers. The electricity would be carried north via 1,200 miles of transmission lines, clear-cutting 1,000 miles of old-growth forest, and breaking up numerous protected areas in the process. Once the transmission lines are in place, no river from deep in Patagonia all the way north to Santiago would be safe from hydro-development,” Stafford told Canoe & Kayak magazine.
Stafford, who is planning on traveling to Chile in February, also tells the magazine that he wants to understand both sides of the proposal, as he says that Chile is in dire need of electricity development. “Large scale damming, which causes massive flooding and displaces wildlife, fauna and/or people, is almost always something I’m against, but until you have a connection to a place and truly understand what’s at stake for both sides, it’s hard to have more than an abstract opposition,” he said.