Villagers petition court to revoke power-plant EIA

Villagers petition court to revoke power-plant EIA

Villagers from Chaiyaphum's Bamnet Narong district gather at Nakhon Ratchasima Administrative Court to delay a power plant project. (Photo by Prasit Tangprasert)
Villagers from Chaiyaphum's Bamnet Narong district gather at Nakhon Ratchasima Administrative Court to delay a power plant project. (Photo by Prasit Tangprasert)

NAKHON RATCHASIMA: Over 500 villagers in Chaiyaphum province have sought an order from the provincial Administrative Court to suspend the process of issuing a permit for the construction of a coal-fired and biomass power plant.

The villagers represent the Bamnet Narong Rak Ban Gerd community group in Bamnet Narong district of Chaiyaphum, who believe the natural resources, environment and way of life will be affected by the planned power plant.

They said Asean Potash Chaiyaphum Plc, which owns the potash and rock salt mine in the district, has earlier pushed for the construction.

The company hired Team Consulting and Engineering and Management Co to prepare two environmental impact assessment (EIA) reports for the mine and power plants. 

Villagers found that the EIA had been conducted without due process since there was no local participation. The company bypassed the process by seeking permission to use public water sources. The report is also in conflict with the resolution of the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (Onep).

Villagers complained that they were excluded from a public hearing on changing the power plant’s fuel type from coal to biomass, coconut and palm nut shells on July 24. 

Mung Meechamnarn, a resident from tambon Ban Phet in Bamnet Narong district, said over 2,000 households from three tambons had already been affected and all did not want the power plant in the area.

He said villagers had tried to raise the issue with related government agencies but had received no response so they have to seek the Administrative Court's help to revoke the permit for water usage and remove the July 24 EIA report on biomass power plant from the Onep meeting.

Wan Pubkhunthod, a villager from tambon Hua Talay in Bamnet Narong district, was worried about the impact of the coal-fired power plant to the environment, fearing it would pollute the water and degrade the quality of living of people in the community. He also rejected the biomass power plant.


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