Parts of an environmental impact assessment for the controversial Pak Lay dam in Laos was copied word for word from an assessment of the equally contentious Pak Beng dam, an advocacy group has claimed.
A statement from Save the Mekong, released last week during a meeting of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) in Vientiane, Laos, claimed that a large portion of the impact assessment was taken from the 2015 Pak Beng assessment.
“At least 90% of the Social Baseline Conditions section of the Pak Lay dam is copied directly from the Pak Beng dam assessment, including photos, tables and text,” Save the Mekong said in a statement.
The MRC in a statement confirmed that parts of the assessment “appear to be similar to those of the Pak Beng project.”
“The MRC Secretariat will review the extent of the similarities between the Pak Lay and Pak Beng assessments as well as identify any opportunities to improve the assessments by including recent data and information. The Secretariat will document findings in the technical review report, and will highlight whether such shortcomings affect a reasonable and sound assessment of the project,” it said.
The forum was held about two months after the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy dam in Laos suffered a catastrophic failure, leaving an unknown number of Laotians dead and displaced.
Laos has planned to build 140 dams along the Mekong river system, with five major dams planned for the Mekong mainstream.