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Chile's Bachelet against huge HidroAysen dam project in wild Patagonia

Chile's Michelle Bachelet says she is against HidroAysen, a $7 billion project to power central Chile by damming Patagonian rivers.

Bachelet is the frontrunner ahead of the Nov. 17 presidential elections. During a televised debate late Sunday, Bachelet said the project is not viable.

Most Chileans also oppose the plans to tame two of the world's wildest rivers and build more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) of power lines to the grid that powers the nation's capital. Some mass marches against the project have turned violent.

The dams together could generate 2.75 gigawatts, almost a third of central Chile's current capacity, within 12 years. Chile imports most its fossil fuels and depends largely on hydropower for electricity.