NEGROS ORIENTAL (PIA) – A network of environmental groups in Negros Oriental is set to dialogue with Sec. Ramon Paje of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on April 6 over issues involving the alleged environmental violations of Energy Development Corporation’s (EDC) geothermal project in Mt. Talinis Range.
The green groups filed an official complaint recently at the Central Office of the DENR opposing EDC’s 60 megawatt expansion and their environmental violations.
“This mountain is not only home to rich biodiversity of flora and fauna with high endemism but it is also our identified watershed providing water to about 15 municipalities and cities in the southern part of Negros Oriental,” said Save Mount Talinis Movement representative Aidalyn Arabe.
“Mt. Talinis is the remaining one percent natural forest of Negros Oriental, our last frontier,” he added.
Atty. Joel Obar of National Union of Peoples Lawyers- Negros Oriental Chapter said they are urging DENR to help them save the last remaining natural forest in the province.
“We have filed our appeal to invalidate the undemocratic and manipulated Public Hearing conducted last March 10, non-issuance of Environment Compliance Certificate, and investigate the cutting of 576 century old trees at the range of Mt Talinis,” said Obar.
Mt. Talinis or Cuernos de Negros mountain range has been identified as a key biodiversity area (KBA) spanning 23,565 hectares covering the municipalities of San Jose, Sibulan, Dauin, Zamboanguita, Siaton, Sta. Catalina, Pamplona, Amlan and Valencia.
It has been identified as one of the top on the list of conservation priority areas due to its high endemism and severity of threats.
“EDC’s geothermal expansion at the Mount Talinis Range is an example of a misplaced solution to climate change. It is compromising our watersheds, natural forests, including people’s lives and livelihood. We urge DENR to investigate the operations to validate the complaints presented,” said Zeph Repollo of 350.org Pilipinas.
EDC’s proposed expansion seeks to add 60 MW in their total steamfield capacity to 282.5MW which includes addition of 43 wells (production and injection wells), 11 well pads, new pipelines and corridors or roads, additional fluid collection and reinjection system and other support facilities.
With this, the environmental groups urged Sec. Paje not to issue an ECC to EDC’s proposed 5,163 hectares development block geothermal project and join them in upholding and protecting the constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology. (rmn/jct/PIA7-Negros Oriental/This article was first published at PIA Website on Mar. 19, 2016)