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Nicaragua canal impact questioned

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Costa Rica’s president has asked Nicaragua for more information about the potential environmental impact of a shipping canal project that would link the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

The plan would dredge a portion of Lake Nicaragua, the region’s largest source of fresh water, to almost twice its current depth, a move Costa Rica fears would create sediment in the San Juan river.

“The only thing we want is information on possible environmental impacts on Costa Rica, and other than that we wish them well,” President Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera told a news conference in Geneva in early June, according to a news report by Reuters.

Nicaragua has said the 172-mile canal would rival the Panama Canal and raise the country’s economic growth to more than 10 percent. It expects to begin the $50 billion project in December, and it would be open four to five years later. The 50-mile Panama Canal took Americans nine years to build and cost more than $370 million at the turn of the last century.

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