Sulog lashes out at environment advisor

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

AN ENVIRONMENTAL management consultant of Misamis Oriental was criticized by an environment group as he claimed that Mindanao could not yet rely on renewable sources of energy.

In a news report published Monday in a local daily, Dr. Josefino Bascug was quoted as saying that Mindanao has to choose among coal-fired power plants, nuclear plants and even candles.

“There is more to candles, coals and nuclear if he cares to expand his profession and if he is truly an environmental consultant,” Sulog One Sendong is Enough (Sulog) statement read.

With the wide range of options available, Sulog said there is no need to choose between coal-fired and nuclear power plants.

“That leaves you Mr. Bascug, with no choice but candles, not us,” the Sulog statement further read.

Available energy

Sulog, citing the speech of Dr. Melchie Ambalong of Lanao Power Consumers Federation (LAPOCOF) during a rally recently, said the estimate for available energy is at least 250,000 megawatt (MW).

“Geothermal –1,200MW, hydro-10,500MW, wind-76,000MW, biomass-235.7MW and ocean current-170,000MW,” said Sulog adding that there is a vast potential available for solar energy.

With regard to Bascug’s statement that tapping these energy resources are costly, the green group said: “The coal-fired power plant of Filinvest Development Corporation (FDC) comes at a (whopping) P30-billion.”

Sulog said the choice between renewable sources of energy versus coal-fired power plants is not choosing between “two evils.”

“It is not between two evils or the devil and the deep blue sea. But it is a choice between public interest prevailing over private profits,” said Sulog.

Absurd logic

“The choices he gave, coal-fired plants, nuclear plants and candles, (are) an absurd logic. As an environmental consultant, he could have included renewable energy sources as among the alternatives,” said Nixon Baban, chairperson of civil society group Bangon Kagay-an.

He added that Bascug’s information about nuclear energy is outdated.

“A global phase-out of nuclear energy is now taking place,” said Baban.

Baban added that countries like Austria, Sweden, Italy, Belgium, Spain, among others have enacted laws to stop constructing new nuclear power plant stations.

“Following the Fukushima leak which resulted from the devastating tsunami in Japan and Germany which is considered to be among the most industrialized nations have shut down eight of its reactors and pledge to close the rest by 2022,” Baban added.

On Bascug’s statement that “countries are slowly phasing out coal-fired power plants” and opted for the extremely dangerous nuclear power plants, Baban said it is either unfounded or a product of his fertile imagination.

Against development?

“Sulog is never anti-development,” said Orlando Ravanera, chairperson of Sulog.

Development, according to Ravanera, should never sacrifice Mother Earth and the people to the altar of profit.

“It should be responsive to the needs of the people, and it should enhance their well-being,” said Ravanera.

After stating the negative effects of coal-fired power plants, Ravanera asked: “How can that be responsive to the needs of the people?”

Ravanera said consultations regarding the establishment of coal-fired power plants should be conducted.

“The emissions of coal-fired power plants can reach up to 700 miles,” he said adding that the people who are covered within that radius should be consulted.

A development that ignores the people affected, Ravanera said “is a sham development.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 11, 2013.

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