Court stops construction of Subic coal power plant-A A +A
Sunday, February 10, 2013
ENVIRONMENTAL advocates said Sunday the construction of a coal-fired power plant in Subic, Zambales cannot proceed despite the dismissal of the writ of kalikasan they asked before the Court of Appeals (CA) against the project.
Clemente Bautista, one of the petitioners, said the CA 15th division nullified the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) and the lease and development agreement (LDA) of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc. (RP Energy) as they were found defective.
The Court scrapped the LDA with the SBMA and the originally issued ECC after the project proponents failed to secure a certification under the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, which requires agencies to determine whether ancestral domains of IPs exist in a project area before issuing licenses or entering into agreements.
Also, the CA noted the project’s lack of approval of concerned local government units such as Cawag village in Subic, the city of Olongapo, province of Zambales, and some of municipalities of Bataan which will be affected by the plant.
“Without the nullified issuances and agreements, RP Energy cannot legally proceed with construction and operation as it possesses no legal basis to continue with the project. If it insists on proceeding, will file appropriate cases against it in due course,” said Terry Ridon, counsel of the petitioners.
The petitioners argued that the proposed 600-megawatt coal power plant violates the constitutional rights of the residents to a balanced and healthful ecology because of the health and environmental risks the plant poses.
Environmental group Greenpeace earlier said that coal power can cause human illnesses, acid rain, and reduced agricultural yields.
However, the CA said opponents to the project failed to prove that the power plant will cause environmental damage to the residents of Bataan and Zambales as the plant has not yet been constructed.
Aside from the petition for writ of kalikasan, the temporary environmental protection order sought by the petitioners was also denied by the CA.
"While we regret that the (Court of Appeals) found the testimonies of the people and petitioners lacking, it cannot negate the fact that there is a wide opposition and vigorous attempt by the public to stop the construction of the plant," said Bautista. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)