Palace inquires about coal plant


09:06 AM May 31st, 2011

By: Candeze R. Mongaya, May 31st, 2011 09:06 AM

THE Office of the President is asking about the environmental compliance of a coal-fired power plant in Naga City.

Regional Executive Director Allan Arranguez of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-7) said he received a call from the Office of the President last week asking about the coal plant owned by Korean Electric Power Corp.-Salcon Power Plant (Kepco-SPC).

“They asked for a copy of the documents on the environmental compliance of the power plant. We forwarded all sampling results and data on the pending environment case,” Arranguez said.

He said it was the first time that the Office of the President asked for information about the new  power plant.

Arranguez said the inquiry could be related to a planned trip by President Benigno Aquino III to Cebu.

Kepco-SPC spokesman Reinerio Lastimoso said they invited President Benigno Aquino to attend their inauguration in July.

He said the coal plant’s operations will be turned over from Dusan construction to Kepco.

“This signals that all necessary installations for the power plant are already complete,” Lastimoso said.

He said the Palace had not yet confirmed the President’s attendance.

“We are willing to give him the documents of our operations,” Lastimoso said.

Ecology lawyer Gloria Estenzo-Ramos of the Philippine Earth Justice Center (PEJC) which petitioned for a pending environmental protection order against the coal plants in Toledo and Naga said this development reflects the government’s concern on the people’s welfare.

Ramos along with other environmental lawyers sent several written complaints to the President’s office on the coal plants in Cebu.

Ramos said she had not yet received any notification from the Palace on the President’s response to their complaints.

“The President has the power to suspend and met sanctions,” Ramos said.

She said she is also hopeful that Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia would be asked to explain about the coal ash pond in Naga.

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