Proposed coal plant threatens endangered species in Kamanga protected area

Mar. 05, 2009

Proposed coal plant threatens endangered species in Kamanga protected area

Davao City — The world-renowned Tinoto-Tampuan Reef in Maasim, Saranggani Province is threatened to be destroyed with the construction of the 200-megawatt Kamanga Power Plant (KPP). This is one of the major reasons why various environmental rights groups oppose the Kamanga coal-fired thermal power plant.

On 2008, the Alcantara-controlled Conal Holdings Corporation (CHC) announced that it will build the KPP – a 200-megawatt coal-fired power plant in a 55 hectare area along the coast of Sitio Tampuan in the municipality of Maasim. The area is close to the Kamanga marine protected area (MPA).

The Kamanga MPA was established sometime in 2006 under Municipal Ordinance No. 06-020, “An ordinance establishing a marine eco-tourism park and sanctuary in Bgy Kamanga, Maasim, Sarangani.”

The 140 hectare area is home to various species including napoleon wrasse, eagle ray, jacks, unicorn fish, trigger fish, large schools of butterfly fish, sweetlips, snapper, turtle, barracuda, dugong bumpheads and spadefish, with pristine fans and corals. It is a habitat for many endangered species protected by International and Philippine Laws including green turtle, hawksbill turtle, dugong and napoleon wrasse.

The proposed project draws flak from various sectors including the church which have launched information and education campaign of the ill effects of the project to the environment and human health since it was first planned to be put up in the town of Maitum, Sarangani. “We will continue to oppose the project and there will be no let up in our campaign until they will abandon the plan of putting up the coal-fired power plant anywhere in the region” said Fr. Romy Catedral of the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Marbel.

Environmentalists have also expressed scepticism of the developers’ promise of using a supposed clean coal technology called the ‘circulating fluidized bed combustion technology’

that will purportedly reduce toxic emissions on air and water.

“There is no such thing as clean coal technology. They just want to make it sound good to convince the people. Coal fired power plants remain the number one source of carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming throughout the world, which resulted to climate disasters that have taken 150,000 lives every year” said Erwin Quiones, LRC-KsK/FoE Phils campaigns paralegal.

“The environmental threat of climate change due to global warming is real, and phasing out of coal fired power plants should be done soon. Other countries like Greece have already cancelled all plans for new coal-fired power plants and even ruled out the introduction of nuclear energy into the country and considers to moved to a cleaner mix of energy sources” Quiones added further suggesting that the government should invest more on renewable and sustainable sources including wind and solar energy.

Dr. Winifreda Olbes, lead-convenor of the church-based Sta. Cruz Parish Against Pollution (SCPAP) in Maasim vows that their group “will continue with our information-education campaign so that the people will realize that the project will do more harm than good for the people of Maasim”, citing environmental and health impacts brought about by CFPPs in other areas.

“The potential contamination of our waters and coasts from KPP wastes will affect the livelihood of the majority of our population – the fisher folks” added Olbes, who also feared the ill effects of the toxic wastes from burning coal like mercury and lead among others to the health of the residents.

CHC is a joint venture company of Alsons (or Alcantara and sons) Consolidated Resources or ACR (60%) and EGCO International (BVI) Limited (40%), a company based in Thailand. #

For Reference:

Erwin B. Quinones
Campaigns Paralegal
LRC/KsK-FoE Phils
Davao Regional Office
479 A Gen. Luna Extension, Davao City

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