Environmentalists oppose P65-B power plant project in La Union

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – Various non-government organizations involved in environmental protection and advocates of ‘climate change’ including religious organization have formed a coalition to block the proposed construction of a P65- billion coal-fired power plant in Barangay Carisquis, Luna town.

“Koalisyon Isalbar ti Pintas ti La Union” (Coalition to Save the Beauty of La Union) is composed of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), HELPS for Humanity (H4H), Kanlungan Center Foundation, the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, the Catholic Church, and several concerned sectors.

Crisanto Palabay, H4H executive director, said that they formed the coalition for them to have stronger voice in opposing the 670-megawatts power plant of the Global Luzon Energy Development Corp, the project proponent.

The proponent’s mother company is the Global Business Power Corporation, a subsidiary of GT Holdings which is owned by Georgey Ty, also the owner of Metrobank.

“We formed this coalition so that there will be an organization in the local level to help our groups in the national level pushing for our move against this project. We believe that the project in Luna is dangerous to our health and environment,” Palabay said.

Valentino de Guzman, PMCJ-Luzon coordinator, said they opposed the project because of the alleged ill-effect of coal to human health.

“We are pushing (to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources) for the moratorium on all new coal-fired power plants which covers the Luna project. No permit and no application should be signed or approved. All should be status quo because we have not yet resolved the issues on the bad effects of all those operating coal plants ,” De Guzman said.

De Guzman said they will be seeking a meeting with DENR Secretary Gina Lopez to discuss the Luna project for its eventual stoppage.

The project will be situated in a 40-hectare idle land in the coastal village of Carisquis.

In an interview, Mayor Victor Marvin Marron disclosed that the project needs at least 3,000 workers, “It will uplift the local economy to about P500-million in real property tax alone,” he said.

Marron committed that he will not allow a project that will destroy his town and his constituents and that the project was introduced properly by highly-recognized engineers and scientists.

It was learned that the plant is environment-friendly because it will be equipped with modern technology called ‘supercritical pulverised coal power plant’ without emitting polluted smoke.

A source who was privy to the project said those few opponents were misinformed on the health and environmental impact of the facility because, he said, all concerns on health and environment issues will be addressed properly.

The source said the proponent has been doing everything to secure the health and environment of the affected areas and its neighbors like Sudipen and other northern towns.

Residents in the area will be given priority in employment during the construction and operation of the plant.

The source said that 98-percent of the affected residents have agreed for the establishment of the project based on a survey conducted while those opposing it are not from Luna. The town is located along the seashore in Northern La Union.

Affected residents, through the help and at the expense of the proponent, were also given a chance to undergo personal assessment on the operation of some supercritical pulverised coal power plants.

“They were invited for a tour in several coal power plants in the Visayas to see for themselves the actual operation and its effect. They are truly convinced about the safe and proper operation (of the plants) because it will not adversely affect the health and environment,” the source said, who requested anonymity for lack of authority to speak in behalf of the proponent.

The proponent already settled with Meralco for the power purchase agreement. JUN ELIAS/Northbound Philippine News