Weighing the Environment: Ghana's Bui Dam

This case examines the environmental permitting process leading up to the construction of the Bui Dam, the second largest hydropower facility in Ghana. Intended to provide much needed relief to the nation’s persistent power challenges, the project secured proper funding from China Exim Bank in 2005, fulfilling several decades of attempts to build the dam. At issue, however, are the potential environmental and social impacts associated with dam construction. Environmental advocates and NGOs are concerned that the dam will negatively impact surrounding wildlife, especially the endangered hippos that make the project area their home. Additionally, these groups worry that regardless of any mitigating measures, the dam would be ruinous to the park’s existing natural ecosystems. Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency has been charged with issuing the environmental permit that will enable the project to move forward. Given the environmental issues at hand, how should the agency proceed?