A Department of Energy (DOE) statement saying there’s no such thing as “clean coal”, let alone “clean coal technology,” refutes a point made by Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II during last Sunday’s presidential debate.
Roxas said it is possible to reduce the pollutant emissions caused by the operation of coal plants.
The timing of the DOE admission could not have been fortuitous for opponents of the proposed 300-MW coal plant project being lobbied by Ludo Power Corp. in Barangay Sawang Calero, Cebu City.
There is that persistent feeling that the coal plant project is being railroaded for approval, with Ludo Power Corp. proposing and offering to shoulder the costs of a referendum among affected residents on their sentiments about the project.
Both Councilors Richard Osmeña and Noel Wenceslao sponsored resolutions favorably endorsing the coal plant project to the Council, which is no small irony considering that the two men attended a climate change summit in Paris, France last year at taxpayers’ expense.
Why they filed the resolution in the first place only to withdraw it later after seeing public opposition to the project, only they could explain. But apparently the lessons of how coal plant operations and other dirty fuels impact on climate change are lost to these two councilors.
Thankfully the other members of the City Council need not go to Paris to know that the proposed coal plant project poses a serious health risk to the surrounding communities. And that it should not be allowed to operate near a community.
“Under current guidelines, a power plant that surpasses a rated capacity of 30 MW is considered environmentally critical. Therefore the proposed coal-fired power plant by Ludo Power Corp. with a capacity of 300 MW is an environmentally critical project and poses significant environmental impact,” read the seven-page report submitted by the Cebu City Council’s environment committee chaired by Councilor Nida Cabrera.
One need not look any further than the Little Lamb Center, which houses more than 30 children with special needs and ailments in Barangay Sawang Calero, to see and evaluate whether it is advisable to allow a coal plant to operate nearby even if it is separated by a 30-foot high wall.
That plus the failure of Ludo Power Corp. to submit an environmental impact study makes the choice clear: any right-minded public official cannot dismiss or sacrifice the overall safety and health of the communities living near the plant site for the livelihood benefits or other windfall promised by the coal plant proponents.
The presence in yesterday’s council hearing of residents of Sawang Calero and other neighboring barangays, who lauded the council’s rejection of the project, is enough proof that the project isn’t welcome at all.
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