Environmentalists call for full moratorium on coal-fired power plants in Burma

Press release from Pa-Oh Youth Organization and Shan Sapawa Environmental Organization
January 24, 2012
Environmentalists call for full moratorium on coal-fired power plants in Burma
Decision on Dawei coal plant only first step toward clean energy
Enivornmentalists today are calling for a full moratorium on all existing and planned coal-fired power plants in Burma following the announcement earlier this month canceling the proposed 4,000 Megawatt coal-fired power plant in Dawei.

Burma’s Minister of Electricity No.2 Khin Maung Soe announced on January 9 that the proposed 4,000 Megawatt coal-fired power plant in the Dawei Special Economic Zone would be cancelled due to the potential environmental impacts of the plant.

Burma currently has plans to construct seven coal-fired power plants across the country; two are currently operational. The largest is the 120 MW Tigyit plant in southern Shan State, which emits clouds of poisonous gases and produces over 100 tons of toxic fly ash per day. A report released last year detailed how air and water pollution in Tigyit is threatening the agriculture and health of nearly 12,000 people.

According to the Electricity Minister, the government may still build a 400 MW plant in Dawei, over three times the size of the Tigyit plant.

Another coal-fired plant by the main developer of the Dawei project, Italian-Thai Public Company Limited, is underway in eastern Shan State without public scrutiny. The Mong Kok plant will produce 369 MW and export power to Thailand.

“If the government is really concerned about the impacts of coal, it should stop all coal plants in Burma” said Khun Myo Hto of the Pa-Oh Youth Organization. “However ‘small’ a coal plant is, we know how deadly it can be for local communities.”

Burma lacks a comprehensive energy plan that addresses environmental and social impacts and local energy needs and despite chronic energy shortages, exports vast energy resources to neighboring countries. This includes the export of natural gas, which is much less polluting than coal.

“Why is the government selling off our country’s natural gas and leaving us to choke on the toxic emissions of dirty coal?” said Khun Myo Hto.

For further details about coal projects in Burma, see www.paohyouth.org/ and www.shansapawa.org

Contact: Khun Myo Hto (Pa-Oh Youth Organization)
Phone: 085 7099 026, Email: office@paohyouth.org

Contact:  Sai Tueng Leng Aung (Shan Sapawa Organization)
Phone: 083 3217 985, Email: shansapawa@gmail.com

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