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A proposed dam across the northern end of Poyang Lake, 27 kilometers from the Yangtze River, would destroy delicate habitat and impede rare Yangtze finless porpoises from reaching spawning areas, scientists argue. In an 11th-hour bid to derail the dam, scientists outlined their concerns in two letters this past summer to China's premier, Wen Jiabao, chair of the State Council. Their appeal seemed to fall short: On a visit here late last month, Chinese Vice-Premier Li Keqiang endorsed the project's basic direction. But in a surprising development, the State Council ordered critics and the dam's backers—the Jiangxi Province government—to thrash out their differences in Beijing.