Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Stop Baleh dam tender until environmental study scrutinised, says Sarawak PKR

BY DESMOND DAVIDSON

A Sarawak opposition lawmaker wants the state government to order Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB), to temporarily stop the tendering process for the proposed RM9 billion Baleh hydroelectric dam, citing the company's alleged failure to allow affected residents to scrutinise the environmental impact study.


See Chee How (pic), PKR's Batu Lintang assemblyman, said the state utility company has not only failed to give those who could be displaced by the construction the 30-day period to study the EIA report released on April 27, it also failed to release the crucial Social Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA) study.
“It is not the right thing to do. SEB did not wait for the three-month objection period to end before tendering the packages," See said, adding that time must be given to the public to scrutinise the EIA report.
SEB reportedly had tendered three packages for the 1,200Mw dam, one of 12 the state had proposed to build to meet the projected power needs of industries in the state's industrial belt, better known as the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score).
The Baleh dam reportedly will supply power to phase 2 of the Score development in Samalaju Industrial Park, Bintulu.
In April, SEB Chief Executive Officer Datuk Torstein Dale Sjotveit told The Star he hoped to start work on the dam by next year and complete it in 2024.
See today also called on Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem to reprimand Sjotveit, over his recent dismissal of a study by the University of California on the impact the proposed Baram hydroelectric would have on the environment.
See said Sjotveit's attitude “smacks of excessive arrogance and being anti-intellectual”.
“The Sarawak government should not be seen hiring such arrogant and anti-intellectual personality to run a publicly-owned power corporation.”
Sjotveit, in a breaking fast function with Kuching journalists last week, said that many of the findings by the American university's Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (Rael) were “invalid” and dismissed them as nonsense.
“I am sad and disappointed with the SEB's CEO outburst against the four-study report.
“The studies are not unfounded. They are meticulously and rigorously researched, filled with scientific data, comprehensive in their analysis and policy prescriptions,” See said.
The studies were made by Prof Dr Daniel Kammen and Dr Shirley Rebekah.
Kammen met the chief minister while he was here and reportedly was asked to submit the studies to SEB for consideration.
“I doubt very much if the SEB CEO had read these studies." he said.
He said Adenan should haul up Sjotveit to explain the reason for rubbishing and rejecting the studies made by eminent scholars from an American Ivy League university. – July 14, 2015.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/sarawak-pkr-wants-baleh-dam-tender-halted-until-environmental-study-scrutin#sthash.sBLqsRo1.dpuf

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