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SMBA won't stop coal plant project – Our fight must go on!

May 30, 2013 · 

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As the Philippines Inquirer reports today:

This might be the future look of Subic bay.

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—Despite a Court of Appeals (CA) affirmation of its decision to invalidate the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) and contract to build a 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant here, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) said it will not stop the project proponents from pursuing development work at the plant site, the agency’s top executive said on Wednesday.

In a text message, SBMA Chair Roberto Garcia described as “very disappointing” the appellate court’s May 22 ruling, which denied three motions for reconsideration of the court’s decision issued on Jan. 30.

This CA decision invalidated the ECC issued on Dec. 22, 2008 to RP Energy by then Environment Secretary Jose Atienza Jr., the amended ECC issued on July 8, 2010 and May 26, 2011, and the June 8, 2010 lease and development agreement (LDA) between SBMA and RP Energy involving 380,000 square meters of land that would host the plant.

Garcia said the SBMA will not stop pushing for the coal plant, saying “definitely we will pursue this [at the] Supreme Court.”

Asked if the SBMA is compelled to stop all project activities, Garcia said it could not because RP Energy has a “site development permit.”

He added that the consortium “was not constructing [at the site], only maintaining [the] site [because] it doesn’t have [a] construction permit.”

The latest CA ruling said that the arguments raised by the parties were “mere reiteration of the matters already considered and passed upon in the (Jan. 30) decision.” The decision was penned by CA Associate Justice Celia Librea-Leagogo.

Lawyer Terry Ridon, counsel for Subic stakeholders who petitioned the Supreme Court for a Writ of Kalikasan, said RP Energy has no reason to pursue the project without an ECC and a development contract. The high court had issued a writ in July last year.

“A day of delay for RP Energy Inc. is another day of victory for the environment,” said Gregorio Magdaraog, head of the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber for Health and Environment Conservation, which opposes the project.

Magdaraog said opponents of the project expect SBMA to stop the ongoing site development.

“RP Energy has no legal right to continue site development in Redondo Peninsula. They have no valid LDA and ECC. SBMA should furnish us a copy of the site inspection report as promised,” he said. Robert Gonzaga, Inquirer Central Luzon

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