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Negros bishops up in arms over coal plant

Negros bishops up in arms over coal plant

Environmental advocates show their opposition to coal-fired power plants during a rally in Manila. GREENPEACE

By CBCP News

November 28, 2018

Manila, Philippines

Catholic bishops in Negros island are concerned about the impact of a coal-fired power plant proposed to be built on their area.

The prelates from the four dioceses in Negros are part of growing group of residents worried about San Miguel Corporation’s power unit SMC Global Power Holdings in San Carlos City.

In a statement released Nov. 23, the bishops from Bacolod, Dumaguete, Kabankalan and San Carlos dioceses said the plant poses threat to their environment, health and sustainable development.

“We appeal to our local government units and our electric cooperatives all over Negros not to entertain anymore any proposition of a coal-fired power plant in the province and elsewhere,” they said.

“Let us stand firm together in Negros — with each other and with our civic leaders — to oppose any new coal-fired power plants and to phase out those still in operation,” read the bishops’ statement.

The collegial pastoral statement came around a month after Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos sounded the alarm against the plan to build a 300-megawatt coal plant in the city.

SMC Global said it received clearance from the Energy department to conduct a grid impact study, a requirement before a power firm can proceed with the construction of the project.

The bishops urged people to “safeguard the gains and success we have achieved so far in improving our Renewable Energy sources and the huge projected excess power supply”.

“Let us work together to increase access to clean, renewable, and sustainable energy,” the church leaders said.

“Let us affirm our commitment to stewardship and to a clean development path that says no to coal and yes to renewable energy technologies that are accessible to everyone, especially our most vulnerable brothers and sisters,” they added.

Negros bishop opposes building of coal-fired power plant

By Roy Lagarde

October 12, 2018

Manila, Philippines

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos

A Catholic bishop has objected to plans for a coal-fired power station in Negros Occidental, denouncing it as harmful to people and the environment.

San Miguel Corporation’s power unit SMC Global Power Holdings wants to build a 300-megawatt coal plant in San Carlos City.

The energy department gave it a clearance for a grid impact study, a requirement before a power firm can proceed with the construction of the project.

The DOE did not disclose other details.

But Bishop Genardo Alminaza of San Carlos urged local government officials to abandon the plans, saying that the country cannot tackle climate change by building new coal plants.

“We call on the city government of San Carlos and the provincial government Negros Occidental to disapprove any proposal or application of SMC Global or any company at all for a coal-fired power plant project,” said Alminaza.

“We encourage Negrosanons and local business industries to continue their real efforts towards a more sustainable and cleaner environment,” he said.

The bishop warned that backing dirty and dangerous energy resources would “stain” the UN’s recognition of the city as one of the world’s most livable cities.

The city, he added, is also considered as the energy hub of the Philippines and Southeast Asia with its biofuel and solar energy, together with the entire Negros.

“Not only will a new coal plant stain these existing global recognitions and honors, it will pollute as well the commons (water, air, land), harm human health and downturn community resilience,” Alminaza said.

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