Community takes West Java government to court to challenge coal power plant development

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Media release – to be released immediately

Bandung, December 6, 2016–Communities affected by a planned coal power plant expansion in Cirebon, West Java today have filed a lawsuit against the West Java Provincial Government over their decision to issue an environmental permit for the project, stating the permit failed to meet a number of substantial and procedural requirements and is in direct contradiction to the law. The expansion takes place in the sub-district of Astanajapura and sub-district of Mundu, Cirebon district. The People for Environmental Protection (Rakyat Penyelamat Lingkungan or RAPEL), assisted by the Advocacy Team for Climate Justice, filed the lawsuit at the Bandung Administrative Court.

The Environmental Permit number 660/10/19.1.02.0/BPMPT/2016 was issued on the 11th of May 2016 and was part of a permit process to allow the 1,000 MW expansion of the Cirebon Coal Fired Power Plant. The new plant will occupy 204.3 hectares and will be run by PT Cirebon Energi Persada (CEPR). According to the lawsuit, the permit has failed to be procedural, substantial requirements and is in violation of a number of laws.

The original Cirebon Coal Fired Power Plant has led to many negative impacts to local livelihoods. With the expansion, more small fishermen, shrimp catchers, mussel gatherers, shrimp paste makers and salt producers are at risk of losing their livelihoods. Nearly all of the Kanci Kulon villagers depend on coastal based natural resources as their source of livelihood. Many types of mussels, fish, shrimps and others have become increasingly difficult to find. The damage and environmental destruction caused by the first power plant has adversely impacted the Kanci people, and that will worsen with the development of the 2nd power plant. In addition, the development plans have already led to social conflict and has frayed the social fabric of the local community.

Muhnur Sathaya Prabu.SH, one of the lawyers representing the community, said that the environmental permit may be disputed due to the fact that several legislations and regulations, namely Law no. 26 year 2007 on Spatial Planning, Law no 32 Year 2009 on Environmental Protection and Management, government regulation no. 27 Year 2012 on Environmental Permit, The Decree of the Environment Minister no. 16 Year 2012 on the guidelines for environmental documents and the Decree of the Environment Minister no. 17 Year 2012 concerning guidelines for community participation in the drafting of the environmental impact analysis. Therefore the environmental permit is considered invalid as it has failed to observe good governance practices.

Moch Aan Anwaruddin, the Coordinator of the People for Environmental Protection (Rakyat Penyelamat Lingkungan – RAPEL) has explained the the process underpinning the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) did not take voices of the affected community, particularly those of the District of Astanapura.

“The people, who have been included in the process, do not represent community views of those directly affected by the development. In fact, we have asked to be present, even without having been invited to the EIA deliberations that were held in Cirebon and Bandung in May 2016 to express our objection to the development of the 2nd Coal Fired Power Plant in Kanci.”

“A new plant will put more local livelihoods at risk, such as those of small marginal fishermen and salt harvesters. At the same time, it can exacerbate existing social frictions and lead to social conflict as we have already seen in the development of the first power plant. Not to mention the land dispute that is ongoing,” said Moch Aan Anwaruddin.

Wahyu Widianto, Advocacy and Campaign Manager of WALHI West Java, added:

“The central government’s policy to build an additional 35,000 MW of generation capacity, with 22 GW deriving from coal-based generation has led to a gross violation of the people’s right to a healthy environment, the people’s right to access natural resources for their livelihood and survival. This includes the right to land, food, water and air. Therefore, the environmental permit needs to be revoked.”

In addition, with the passing of Law no. 16 Year 2016 that ratifies the Paris Agreement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Indonesian government needs to align its energy sector objectives to its emissions reduction commitments as pledged to the international world. Hence, President Joko Widodo will need to review and halt plans to build more coal fired power plants in Indonesia, and particularly, in West Java.

For more information, please contact:

Moch Aan Awaruddin / 0877 8561 7564 (RAPEL).
Dhanur Santiko, SH / 0811 2220 363
Wahyu Widianto/ 0813 2042 3076 (WALHI Jawa Barat)