Groups to DENR: Suspend Coal-Fired Power Plant Operations in Limay, Bataan now

The Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to issue a total suspension of the operations of the coal-fired power plants owned by San Miguel Corporation and Petron in Limay, Bataan after several reports revealed the environmental and health violations committed by the said establishments.

Secretary Gina Lopez of DENR has released a cease and desist order earlier, however, only limited to the coal ash pond and excluding the coal plant operations. It has also been reported by the members of the community in Brgy. Lamao in Limay and validated by Metro Central Luzon CLTV 36 that the operations of the pond are still on-going despite the cease and desist order.

“The DENR must give due importance in issuing the suspension of the operations of these reported coal-fired power plants”, Ian Rivera, National Coordinator of PMCJ said. “Even if they suspend the operations of the pond, the coal power plant will continue to generate more ashes that deteriorate the health of the people and their lands. The plant produces 250 tons of coal combustion waste on a daily basis. Thus, suspending Petron’s coal ash dumping while the coal plant continues to operate will not stop the production of coal ash.”, Rivera added.

“After this incident, Petron’s coal-fired power plant must be included in the DENR’s audit priority list of environmental compliance certificates (ECCs) previously issued by the agency. The Government must investigate if there are further violations being committed here”, Atty. Aaron Pedrosa, Secretary-General of SANLAKAS said.

The group also urges other concerned government agencies to cooperate with DENR in the investigation. “Hearing the stories of the members of the communities, we demand immediate action from the Department of Health by conducting a medical fact-finding in all places where coal-fired power plants are operating, of course, starting with Bataan. The coasl ash contamination in Limay is not an isolated case. Coal plants are proven health, environmental and climate hazards. The recent disaster is a testament to this established fact.”, Atty. Pedrosa added.

Meanwhile, Gerry Arances, National Coordinator of Center for Energy, Ecology and Development scored the Climate Change Commission for stalling the energy policy review. “That coal plants continue to enjoy the imprimatur of the Government betrays the latter’s continued dependence on dirty and harmful energy. We cannot expect a departure from this situation unless the country’s overarching energy policy is revisited and shifted towards renewable energy systems. It is imperative for the CCC to double its efforts in rolling their energy policy review. Otherwise, the Government lends legitimacy to more disasters as experienced and seen now in Limay, Bataan”, Arances said.

The groups reiterated their call for a moratorium in the issuance of ECCs and permits to new coal plants. To date, there are 69* existing coal-fired power plants of which by the Energy Department’s projection 27* coal plants are expected to go online this year. Bataan is home to 6* coal-fired power plants with 791.6 MW and 8* CFPPs with 2,400 MW in the pipeline.