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Govt pushes Krabi coal plant forum

KRABI: The government has pressed ahead with its plan to improve the public’s understanding about new environmental and health impact assessments needed for the Krabi coal-fired power plant project, saying they have to be completed within a month from now.

construction, environment, politics, pollution,

Bangkok Post

Thursday 2 March 2017, 08:44AM

It is not known how the public will react to the government-sponsored discussion forums to ‘better inform everyone’ about its planned coal-fired power plants. Photo: Greenpeace via Bangkok Post
It is not known how the public will react to the government-sponsored discussion forums to ‘better inform everyone’ about its planned coal-fired power plants. Photo: Greenpeace via Bangkok Post

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon imposed the one-month deadline on parties assigned to both improve public understanding about the Krabi power plant and organise public forums on the matter, Col Sirichan Ngathong, deputy spokeswoman of the army, said yesterday (Mar 1).

The parties are the Energy Ministry, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, and army chief Chalermchai Sittisat, in his capacity as secretary-general of the fifth committee on the state administration steering and reform, she said.

He was speaking after a meeting of the fifth committee chaired by Gen Prawit.

Following protests against the Krabi power plant project, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha stressed the need to restart the environmental health impact assessment (EHIA) and environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the controversial power plant. Gen Prawit also wants to encourage residents in the concerned areas to fully take part in a number of public forums that will be organised accordingly, she said.

Also yesterday, a group of people calling themselves the homeland conservation group of tambon Khu in Chana district of Songkhla province gathered around Ban Koh Thak School in tambon Nawa of Chana district where they believed Chana Green Co and its consultant firm planned to hold a public hearing intended only for local state officials.

The hearing, which was not held, was believed to be part of the plan to construct a biomass power plant on a 160-rail plot in Moo 3 in tambon Khu. In November, a similar public hearing for this project was called off after a group of locals surrounded the location of the hearing. No one from Chana Green Co showed up at the school.

Muhammad Lamo, who led the protest, said the group had to remain at the school to prevent the public hearing from happening.

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He said he had learned that the hearing was scheduled for yesterday from 9am until 11.30am.

The protest leader insisted the villagers were willing to listen to what the company has to say only if it comes and tells them directly instead of approaching the local leaders, which has only led to conflicts in the community.

Meanwhile, yesterday, a group of about 30 people protesting and keeping a close watch on the development of the Pak Bara deep seaport project in Satun province, submitted a petition to the provincial government calling for the cancellation of a public forum planned for the project on Mar 16.

The group also proposed the province discuss a possible solution to conflicts between supporters of the project and their opponents, to avoid causing the rift between them to widen and result in violence. The group suggested the EHIA of this project be conducted in a more professional manner, not an attempt to collect signatures of people who support it.

The governor promised that he would notify the Marine Department about the group’s call regarding the cancellation of the public forum and relay the group's message on the EHIA to the company.

Read original story here.



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