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Chile court stalls $1.4B thermoelectric plant

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) - A Chilean appeals court has annulled the construction permit for the $1.4 billion Punta Alcalde thermoelectric plant.

The court said Thursday that the 740-megawatt plant planned by the European company Endesa for the north of Chile endangers the rights of those nearby "to live in an environment free from contamination."

A Chilean ministerial group had lifted a suspension of the project in December after an environmental commission blocked construction over potential air and water pollution.

The appeals court's decision to side with marine conservation group Oceana and local fishermen is the latest blow against megaprojects in energy-strapped Chile.

Chile's environmental regulator blocked Barrick Gold Corp.'s $8.5 billion Pascua-Lama mine in May.

Last year, Chile's Supreme Court cited environmental questions in rejecting construction of Central Castilla, a $5 billion thermoelectric plant.

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