The Belo Monte dam project will flood 250 square kilometers (96.5 square miles). It was originally going to flood 5,000 square kilometers but the plans were changed for environmental reasons. The $17 billion project on the Xingu River in Para province is meant to help Brazil cope with increased demand for electricity. It is the largest development plan there since the government starting building highways in 1964. Critics of the project say it will have a negative impact on the environment and native cultures.
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