Greenpeace calls for cancellation of energy project

As DTI Drops Controversial Coal Plan

Press release - April 20, 2001
Greenpeace today welcomed the Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) recent decision to freeze the accreditation of a consortium of companies behind the controversial coal plant project in Pulupandan, Negros Occidental. Replying to a letter sent by Greenpeace, DTI Secretary Mar Roxas said that "In view of CNPC's expired accreditation with the Department of Energy (DOE), the BOI registration of the project will be reviewed immediately."

Greenpeace today welcomed the Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) recent decision to freeze the accreditation of a consortium of companies behind the controversial coal plant project in Pulupandan, Negros Occidental. Replying to a letter sent by Greenpeace, DTI Secretary Mar Roxas said that "In view of CNPC's expired accreditation with the Department of Energy (DOE), the BOI registration of the project will be reviewed immediately."

Greenpeace had sent DTI a letter last March 28 questioning the Board of Investments (BOI) accreditation it gave to the Central Negros Power Corporation (CNPC), the group leading the tainted coal station initiative in Negros. The BOI is a trade body under DTI.

"The BOI certificate has been frozen and can no longer be used by CNPC to leverage investors in the dirty and doomed power project. The BOI recognizes that it was misled into providing the faulty accreditation to CNPC. The freeze order is a significant step that should lead to the ultimate cancellation of the project," said Greenpeace Energy Campaigner Red Constantino.

The accreditation given to CNPC last November provided the consortium hefty tax holidays and other incentives. Greenpeace says that the BOI should have been guided by the conditions stipulated under the Omnibus Investments Code of 1987 accrediting pioneer power projects. The requirements under the investments code are the use of local materials or renewable energy, and an accreditation from the Department of Energy. "Why BOI ever issued a certificate to CNPC is a mystery. In its very application to BOI last May, CNPC had already stated that it would import 75 percent of its coal from Australia.[1] The DOE's provisional accreditation had also expired as early as 1998," Constantino remarked.

Greenpeace said that this should be a lesson for DTI to exercise better diligence in its issuances. The international environmental organization urged DTI to "seriously review its policies and shape them to provide preferential incentives to renewable energy initiatives instead of giving these to undeserving polluting projects."

The DTI freeze order is the latest setback in the Pulupandan coal plant saga. The coal project is among the projects tainted by the midnight DENR permit scandal associated with ex DENR Secretary Antonio Cerilles. Major investors in CNPC, Ogden Energy and ABB Energy Ventures, pulled out last month due to mounting local and international opposition.

"It is a scandal that foreign enterprises like Ogden can subvert the country's trade and regulatory bodies with such impunity. Secretary Roxas should investigate this issue seriously alongside the DENR which is also conducting its own review on this shameful project," Constantino added.

Notes: [1] Coal is the most carbon-intensive among the greenhouse gases and emits 29% more carbon per unit of energy than oil, and 80 percent more than natural gas. Coal is a non-renewable energy source.

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