FIVE representatives from the Protect Krabi Network gathered yesterday to march in Bangkok, demanding an end to the use of coal for power at a new plant planned near the town plus immediate reform of the environmental impact and health assessment process.
The 13km march started from the Pollution Control Department to the Mahidol University’s Faculty of Public Health and ended at Chulalongkorn University.
The group also visited the offices of four members of the expert panel picked by the National Environment Board (NEB) to review the environmental impact assessment for the proposed Klong Ruo Coal Seaport, in Krabi, ahead of a review meeting this Friday.
Another walk is planned tomorrow to visit the remaining four members.
“The decision from the expert panel members will affect the future of Krabi – they will determine if the province will maintain its unique environment as the ‘Emerald of Andaman’ or be under threat from dirty coal plans,” network representative Somnuek Krodsua said.
“The seaport’s EIA process is not transparent and does not present correct and thorough information, nor incorporate all concerns from every sector. In addition, it neglects the importance of the Krabi river estuary, which is renowned as a global marine biodiversity hotspot and a source of food for local communities,” he said.
The Klong Ruo Coal Seaport was planned by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand to find a way of importing coal from Indonesia, Australia and Africa to an 870MW coal-fired power plant. The port lies in Taling-chan subdistrict in Krabi’s Klong Kanan district – part of an area listed as one of Thailand’s few wetlands of international importance.
Tara Buakamsri, Thailand country director for Greenpeace Southeast Asia urged that the EIA and EHIA process be reviewed and analysed by an independent organisation not under the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning. He said this would facilitate transparency, impartiality and traceability.
“The country’s policy-makers should have vision and political will to steer Thailand towards being a renewable energy leader, as well as to develop a decentralised hybrid renewable energy system which provides energy security to the country. Addiction to coal is not the answer to safety and energy security for the nation, it’s time for us to end the coal era,” Tara said.