Lawsuit against Saraburi power plant dismissed
Saraburi’s Kaeng Khoi conservation group yesterday saw its lawsuit against the Kaeng Khoi 2 power plant dismissed by the Administrative Court on grounds that information presented to the court by state agencies and experts was credible.The lawsuit was filed by group representative Somkid Duangkaew and 25 others against the Royal Irrigation Department and three other defendants for approving Gulf Power Generation Co Ltd's construction of a pipeline to generate electricity with Pasak River water at the Kaeng Khoi 2 plant. They claimed the pipeline had cut the amount of river water available for local consumption and had also contaminated water since March 27, 2007. The plaintiffs urged the court to prohibit the pipeline project, to cancel approval of the project's Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report and order another, and to revoke the company's licence to operate.
Somkid said he was disappointed with the verdict after a six-year battle and said experts had failed to gather facts from the affected area, and merely checked documents. As an example, he cited the Gulf Power's claim that the plant was located 600 metres away from the local community when in fact it was only 100 metres from housing estates, along with its claims that 10-metre-tall trees planted in three layers around the plant prevented noise pollution, when in fact there were only scattered four-metre-tall trees. He insisted the approval for the power plant had dealt a further blow to a Pasak River basin that was already in crisis.
Environmental Litigation and Advocacy for the Wants (EnLAW) director Surachai Trong-ngam said local residents would meet to decide whether to appeal within 30 days of the verdict.