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Panama Canal Completes Environmental Impact Study for First Dry Excavation for Expansion

Date: 03-JUL-2007

CANAL CONTINUES ON PATH TOWARD EXPANSION

PANAMA CITY, Panama, July 03, 2007 - In a historic referendum held on October 22, 2006, the Panamanian people voted to expand the Panama Canal. Since then, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has continually taken steps on the path toward expanding the waterway. Today the ACP announced that, after a thorough review, the Panamanian National Environmental Authority (ANAM) has approved the environmental impact study (EIS) for the first dry excavation contract for the new Pacific Locks access channel - the first construction project under expansion.

With this approval, the ACP has laid the groundwork for the preliminary stages of the dry excavation. On May 6, 2007, the ACP released its tender (request for proposal submission) for the first dry excavation contract for the new Pacific Locks access channel - the subject of the environmental impact study and the first of five dry excavation projects that will link the new Post-Panamax Locks on the Pacific end of the Canal with the existing Gaillard Cut. Bids are due on July 6, 2007.

Expansion will build a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, which will double capacity and allow more traffic and longer and wider ships. The ACP undertakes all of its construction programs in accordance with world-class environmental standards and principles as a signatory to the United Nations' Global Compact.

"This EIS is a critical step forward and will help to make sure that the Canal's expansion work is conducted in an environmentally sustainable manner," said ACP Environmental Protection Specialist, Daniel Muschett, who oversees all of the environmental aspects of the Canal expansion.

The approved study evaluated hydrological conditions, conducted a forest inventory and analyzed potential air quality effects. It also included meetings with residents of nearby communities. The EIS was then presented to ANAM for final approval.

About the Panama Canal Authority (ACP)

The ACP is the autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the ACP is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors. For more information, please refer to the ACP's Web site: http://www.pancanal.com/. For Panama Canal video, please visit www.thenewsmarket.com/panamacanal.


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