Statements: Fight the impending menace to the environment


We oppose the construction of the coal-fired power plants in Luna, La Union, and in Sual, Pangasinan, and the utilization of coal in all parts of the country. The 1,200 MW coal-fired plant of Team Energy in Barangay Pangascasan, Sual, the biggest in the country, is more than the people and environment of Ilocos can handle. We say, enough with the pollution, enough with the health risk, and enough with corporate greed!

Coal is the dirtiest energy fuel from source, transport and power production. From the start of its operation up to the time it will be decommissioned hazardous waste management is a primary risk and concern. The environmental and health danger associated with coal outweigh all the “economic benefits” that the industry presents.

At the global level, coal-fired plants remain to be the worst polluting power plants and top source of greenhouse gases. Besides the huge carbon dioxide emission, it remains to be the largest source of sulfur, nitrous oxide, neurotoxin mercury and particulate emission. Arsenic, lead, flourine and about 60 more different hazardous pollutants are also produced when coal is burned.

Aside from contributing to global warming, coal mining and power-plants ran by this fossil fuel are large contributor of land, air and water pollution. Coal power plant waste have contaminated large expanse of land and ground water sources here and abroad.

A mere utilization of the internet can inform us that the scientific community, without a doubt, have linked pollutants coming from coal power plants with cancer and different neurological and cardio-vascular ailments, affecting unborn child to adults.

“Clean coal” technology or low-emission coal power facilities, being promoted by the industry is under the development stage and extremely expensive for typical energy consumption. However, these technology fails to address the overall impact of the coal industry from extraction, transport, stockpiling and coal-fired plant waste disposal.

Furthermore, the fact remains that pollutants are merely reduced by current technological interventions. The long term operation will eventually entail heavier environmental and social cost. ‘Clean coal’ is but a corporate marketing strategy to keep coal afloat and relevant amid the call to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

Even the countries touted to have the most efficient coal fleet like Japan, China, and the United States have utterly failed to curbed the environmental and health issues associated with coal and coal-fired plants. In a country like ours where corrupt bureaucracy and lackluster implementation of environmental laws exist, we can only expect the worst ecological and health impact from coal-powered plants.

A recent study conducted by Dr. Freddie R. Obligacion, an independent consultant and researcher, found that “major coal-fueled plants in the country have adversely impacted our fellow citizens’ environment, health, livelihood, and life satisfaction.” The study covered 410 households from four major coal-powered plants with 99 percent accuracy.

The P80-Billion coal-powered plant which Global Luzon Energy Development Corporation (GLEDC) and P47-Billion plant that Phinma Energy Corporation intend to build with support from the local governments is no different. The power that will be produced is intended for big businesses, while the people of Luna and Sual, and their neighboring towns will be the losing end of these projects.

In La Union, the economic benefits projected by GLEDC and local officials of Luna such as the 3,000 workers needed for the construction and about P500 million in real property tax are but crumbs. GLEDC, Meralco and the pockets of local politicians are the ones that will get fat while the people, their livelihood and local businesses suffers.

Agriculture as an economic base remains to be strong in the region. La Union, like any other Ilocos provinces, is better off promoting rural development by pursuing genuine agrarian reform and strengthening programs for community-based resource management. Local governments should prioritize industrial and service sector investments with less ecological impacts for job creation.

We stand firm with the people of Ilocos in opposing these project. We likewise call on the other sectors and local governments to oppose these impending menace to our environment and social well-being. Let us remain steadfast in our struggle against corporate greed, environmental plunder and destruction of people’s livelihood. #


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