Zambales vice-governor: LGU did not approve RP Energy project

COURT of Appeals (CA) hearings on the Writ of Kalikasan against the construction of a 2×300 megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Subic, Zambales continued today with the testimony of Zambales Vice-Governor Ramon Lacbain.

The case stemmed from the July 20 petition filed to the Supreme Court by environmental groups to stop the construction of 600 (2×300) megawatt coal-fired power plant in Subic bay by Redondo Peninsula Energy (RPI). The petitioners asserted that “the project violates the Constitutional rights of the residents of Zambales and Bataan provinces to a balanced and healthful ecology as well as provisions in the Local Government Code and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act.”

According to Vice-Governor Lacbain, the Sanggunian Panlalawigan objected and opposed the construction of the coal-fired power plant in their Sanggunian Panlalawigan Resolution No. 2011-149 in August 2011. The Resolution was given a unanimous vote by Sangguniang Panlalawigan members. A second resolution in July 2012 reiterated the board’s position against the project.

Also present at today’s hearing were leaders from Kalikasan Party-list, Pamalakaya and the No to Coal-Central Luzon alliance.

“The Subic coal fired power plant is a project will be detrimental to the people’s health and the environment. We are urging the Court of Appeals to uphold the Writ of Kalikasan issued by the Supreme Court in response to the demand of Subic residents and environmental advocates to stop the plant’s construction,” Kalikasan Party-list National President Clemente Bautista Jr. said.

The Supreme Court issued a Writ of Kalikasan on July 31 2012 after finding the writ sufficient in form and substance and referred the case to the Court of Appeals (CA).

RPI has attempted to proceed with site development despite the protests of Subic Bay residents and green groups and the passing of two local government resolutions opposing the project. Olongapo Sangguniang Panglungsod Resolution No. 131 was passed in 2008 and the Olongapo Liga ng mga Barangay Resolution No. 12 was passed in 2011. The petitioners asked the SC to also grant the prayer for a Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) to stop the ongoing site development.

Other stakeholders have also expressed concerns that the power plant’s smokestack will endanger aircraft flying into the free port zone’s international airport and pose a threat to aviation.

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