Chile court rejects approval of Endesa coal power project
SANTIAGO, Aug 1 (Reuters) - A Chilean appeals court rejected a ministerial group's decision on Thursday and blocked the construction of energy firm Endesa's $1.4 billion, coal-fired, thermoelectric project.
In December, a Chilean ministerial group lifted a suspension on Endesa's 740-megawatt Punta Alcade project after an environmental commission had blocked it in June on the grounds that the plant could cause pollution.
But the appeals court on Thursday told the ministerial group to reconvene and hear arguments against the Punta Alcalde project before reaching a new decision.
The ministerial group could file a futher appeal as could Endesa.
Environmental groups are increasingly opposing power projects ranging from coal-fired thermoelectric plants in Chile's northern Atacama, the world's driest desert, to hydropower dams in the wild southern Patagonia region.
An Endesa spokesman said the company would not comment on the matter until it has had time to study the court's decision.
(Reporting by Erik Lopez; Writing Anthony Esposito; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)