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A multibillion dollar plan by Chile's two leading electricity providers to build five massive dams in Patagonia has sparked a fierce national debate, pitting the country's leading environmentalists and their congressional allies against a powerful energy lobby that enjoys clear backing from top government officials. At stake in this ongoing discourse is the fate of two potent rivers: the glacier-fed Baker and Pascua. Located more than 1,600 km south of Santiago in Chile's sparsely populated Region XI, an area also known as Aysen, the pristine waterways were until recently virtually unheard of by the general public. They had not, however, escaped the attention of Endesa, a former state-owned company that is now a huge multinational controlled by Spanish and Italian capital. By its own admission, Endesa has been eyeing the Baker and Pascua rivers for more than 40 years, sizing them up as huge potential energy sources.