Tablon power plant to use coal: official

Goldstar Daily News
Lito Rulona

IS it going to be a coal-fired power plant or not?

When the city council gave the Cagayan de Oro Corn Products Inc. the green light to construct and operate a power plant in Tablon, it was because of a supposed assurance that the firm would not be using coal.

But a barangay councilor in Tablon said the six-megawatt power plant would be coal-fired in times when the supply of biomass are insufficient or not available.

Tablon barangay councilor Angelo Pomar revealed this on local radio even as he vouched that a public consultation was made in his village before the barangay council gave the firm the go-ahead.

Pomar’s pronouncement contradicted Councilor Zaldy Ocon’s claims.

Ocon, chairman of the city council’s environment committee, said he endorsed the project before the city council after the firm’s lawyer Arnold Barba assured in writing that the power plant would not be coal-fired.

A biomass-fired power plant generates fuel from scrap wood, forest resources, and other waste residues while coal-fired power plants generate electricity through burning coal.

The opposition to the Cagayan Corn Product’s project is snowballing. The environment watchdog Sulog said it was preparing a petition even as it questioned the city council’s nod on the controversial project.

Sulog has also questioned the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau for supposedly giving the Tablon project the green light.

Environmental activist and Cooperative Development Authority chairman Orlando Ravanera, Sulog chairman, said the group met over the weekend, and agreed to release a petition to question the city council, and the DENR-EMB for giving the firm an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).

Ravanera said the group that include representatives of Xavier University, Task Force Macajalar, various religious organizations, farmer, fisherfolk, indigenes, and other stakeholders, would also seek a Writ of Kalikasan from Court of Appeals.

“It is a question of money and conscience,” Ravanera said. “We are wondering why, despite the position papers sent to the city council and EMB, they still approved it.”

Ravanera said it was clear the firm would operate a coal-fired power plant in the middle of a residential area, adding that the firm “has a history of violating environmental laws.”

He said massive protest actions were being planned against the project, and officials who favor it.

“Kamo diha sa city council and barangay pamati-on sab nato ang demand sa mga mag-uuma and fisherfolk,” Ravanera.

EMB regional director Sabdullah Abubacar however said the firm submitted all the required documents. He said an ECC was issued because the firm complied with all the requirements.

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