THE Provincial Government of Negros Occidental is opposing any project of geothermal producer Energy Development Corp. (EDC) inside the Northern Negros Natural Park (NNNP).
Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said on Wednesday they discussed the EDC project in Mount Kanlaon Natural Park and the proposed geo-scientific study in Mount Mandalagan, which is part of the NNNP.
“We’re unanimous that we should not allow any new exploration in the area. We will not allow a geothermal plant in NNNP,” he added.
Lacson said they also agreed that the oversight committee should be reactivated through the executive order of Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr.
The vice governor said they oppose the project of EDC in NNNP because, “when we go through drilling for the geothermal plant, some trees will be cut.”
Reacting to Lacson’s statement, Vicente Omandam, senior manager of EDC Negros Island Geothermal Business Unit, said they will respect the position of the Provincial Board.
“We will respect the decision of the SP, but we hope they will give us a chance to clarify some issues that may give them a new perspective,” Omandam added.
Moreover, Lacson pointed out that EDC had a “very poor performance” in their project in Mount Kanlaon.
“They targeted to produce more than 40 megawatts of power. They have failed miserably in that projection,” the vice governor said.
He added: “We will oppose. If the province can stop it, we will stop it. We don’t want them (EDC) to establish another geothermal plant in NNNP.”
Lacson said the governor is also against the proposed geothermal project in NNNP.
Meanwhile, the vice governor said the Provincial Board has no position yet on the EDC project in Mount Kanlaon.
“We will leave that to the recommendation of the oversight committee. We don’t want to pre-empt it,” he said.
Lacson said the oversight committee will study the performance of EDC on its geothermal project in Mount Kanlaon.
He pointed out that Negros Occidental is “heading towards renewable energy,” citing the solar farms in the cities of San Carlos, Cadiz, and La Carlota, and in Manapla town.
“We have many solar projects in the province. We prefer that EDC concentrate on renewable energy. I understand that they were given a green light to study the possibility of putting up a wind power farm, that we would support,” Lacson said.
The committee hearing conducted was in response to the letter of environmental group Save NNNP Movement addressed to Lacson, asking the Provincial Board to act on the EDC’s projects in Mount Kanlaon and Mount Mandalagan.