Duterte now questions proposed coal-fired power plant

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DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Davao City Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who had been a strong endorser of a coal-fired power plant that Aboitiz Power Corp. plans to erect in the Toril district here, says he now has apprehensions about the project after learning that the plant will require a lot of fresh water.

“I was made to understand that they will be using sea water,” Duterte told reporters Thursday.

He said he learned only recently that Aboitiz would be drawing fresh ground water to run the power plant and not sea water as he had been made to believe.

The plant is to be located in Toril’s Binugao area, which sits one of the city’s known aquifers.

Duterte said his fear about the loss of fresh water in Binugao was the same reason he ordered the suspension of a city council resolution approving the reclassification of the area, including the site of the proposed  a 300-megawatt plant, into an industrial zone.

Binugao is currently classified as a protected medium industrial and protected open space easement.

“I am sorry to delay the project but there are things that need to be addressed,” he said.

Duterte said his previous strong support for the project was anchored on the belief that it would help solve an impending power crisis.

“But it’s a different matter when the fresh water of Davao will… be compromised,” he said.

Based on Aboitiz data, the coal-fired plant will need more than half a million cubic meters of water per year to cool down its generators.

Duterte said the problem was that Aboitiz never said it would bore wells to draw ground water for its needs.

“This is fresh water we are talking about,” he said. “This is a supply that is intended for the next generation Dabawenyos.”

Manuel Orig, Aboitiz first vice president for Mindanao affairs, said they would discuss the issue with Duterte and the city council.

The Network Opposed to Coal (No To Coal-Davao) said it was happy about Duterte’s turnaround.

“Thank you, Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for taking up the issue of water that will be used by the coal-fired power plant in Binugao. I promise you that one day soon you will also find that the drinking water sources will be contaminated with mercury, arsenic, molybdenum, cadmium, manganese, etc…” said Dr. Jean Lindo of No to Coal convenor.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KTDO73QP7WTZEWN57CFOQSEFWY Antonio

    wow…..and we are still considering coal fired power plant. please check what happened to calaca, masinloc and queszon power plants. haven’t anyone wondered why we have only 3 coal fired power plants??? the reason is….coal fire power plants are inefficient and causes thepollution of air, water and land!!!!!!wake up davao!!!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/San-Miguel/100002054148025 San Miguel

    good point vice mayor Duterte…Thanks for that.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe the company wants to make a quick buck using cheaper coal as most industrial countries have shifted to using natural gas which is much cleaner.  But this makes a point that coal is more expensive in total as companies have to pay for the health of the workers and people around in the medium run, and the cleanup of the areas around a coal plant.

    Unless A. company provides unbiased proof the coal plant is non-polluting (ha ha ha, the elements in coal can even be radioactive), then it is not sustainable.

    What are the differences between a smart politician, a wise mayor and a dumb businessman?
    A smart politician learns from his mistakes,
    a wise mayor learns from others’ mistakes,
    but a dumb businessman will always repeat the same mistakes everyone made before him as long as it makes more money in the short run. 

    Heck, from looking at concrete, heat-retentive Cubao, we now have Makati CBD with more greenery, parks and trees…even Fort Boni.  Now which properties retained better premium rates? 

    Which businessman is playing dumb or actually dumb?

    EDIT: this is the link to the three other coal-fired plants in the Philippines. The one in Cebu, of Aboitiz, just happens to be Mirant. See page 3 of the pdf for the table of poisons.

    http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/seasia/en/press/reports/bringing_calamities_to_communities.pdf

  • Anonymous

    Another non renewable energy source gone up in smoke? Dont do it Davao! 

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