A group of scientists have sent a petition to the Vietnamese parliament asking that two planned hydropower projects on the Dong Nai River be reconsidered due to the environmental risks they pose, a local newspaper reported.
The scientists said the controversial Dong Nai 6 and Dong Nai 6A dams would cause serious consequences to the ecosystem in Cat Tien National Park, according to the Sai Gon Tiep Thi.
They said the projects would also damage domestic water resources and agricultural production among residents living on the lower part of the river.
Vu Ngoc Long, deputy chief of the Institute of Tropical Biology, one of the petitioners, said the scientists were asking the National Assembly to revise the projects, and they had listed both the pros and cons of the projects. But he said the with cons outweighed the pros.
"If there was a vote, I myself and many other scientists can say frankly we are against the projects," he said.
The two dams would encroach on more than 372 hectares of forest land, of which around 137 hectares belong to the Cat Tien National Park.
Under a government decree, the construction of any project that encroaches on 52 hectares of land in national parks, nature reserves or protected forests must be approved by the National Assembly.
On July 22, Dong Nai Province authorities announced they had asked central authorities to halt the projects.
A day earlier, Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang told the press that the ministry maintained that hydropower projects should not "touch" national parks and protected forests.