A seminar on a new electrical generating plant planned for Krabi attracted 600 people on Saturday (July 28), but villagers most likely to be affected by the plant have asked for more information relating to health and pollution impacts.
The new 800-megawatt Electrical Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) facility is planned in connection with the government’s 2010 – 2030 Electrical Development Plan.
Those in attendance arrived in groups of roughly 10 each from villages in the affected areas. A group from the Local Fishermen’s Network also attended.
EGAT representatives explained to the group that the new plant is planned as “a high-quality bituminous coal-fired facility”, with the coal to be supplied from Indonesia.
“This project is still in its study stage, with regard to impact on health and the environment,” they were told, pending an Environmental and Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) report. Speakers said the plant would begin producing electricity in 2019.
But Rawee Bornah, a member of the Krabi Provincial Community Organisation Council requested more information be made available to villagers.
“Villagers have in the past experienced the adverse impact of pollution from lignite coal and oil fueled power plants, leading to increased incidence of respiratory diseases. Pollution also damaged to a considerable extent fruit orchards, vegetable gardens, and oil palm and rubber plantations.
“We therefore request that EGAT explain in full detail the facts related to operation of this new plant.
“Further, we insist a contract be made between the people, the provincial office and local government regarding responsibility for damages that may arise from the plant’s operational problems in future.”
Krabi Electrical Generating Information Office chief Chaiyos Hanamorn responded that the plant was being constructed to serve projected economic and tourism business growth in Krabi and along the Andaman Sea coast.
He said three such seminars were scheduled to assess people’s views on the project, and that the EHIA report would be complete sometime next year.
“This seminar is undertaken to define the parameters and direction of the study,” he said.
“The second seminar will be for evaluation of information gathered. The third meeting will review draft guidelines aimed at preventing damage and solving problems.”
“I expect the new plant will be built because another plant is already there. Local people mostly agree with the new project, but they want it to operate in accordance with the law.”