Green group hits fossil gas project proponents over tree-cutting violations

April 11, 2022

The Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) urged the Philippine authorities to investigate a possible violation of environmental laws after proponents of two fossil gas projects in Batangas allegedly cut trees without permits.

On April 11, the group filed complaint letters before the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and the environment department against the liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal of Linseed Field Power Corporation and Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Company (Linseed-AG&P), and the adjacent 1,750 MW fossil gas power plant of San Miguel Corporation owned Excellent Energy Resources, Inc. (EERI-SMC).

Gerry Arances, executive director of CEED, said the proponents of the fossil gas projects “have cleared vegetation in their adjacent project sites” without proper documents.  

“We wonder how this was allowed to happen, as it seems not all necessary permits were granted to proponents before they could proceed with land clearing,” he said. 

CEED claimed that neither of the two proponents has been issued with necessary permits by the PCA to clear their project sites of coconut trees.

“If no permits were indeed granted to Linseed-AG&P and EERI-SMC, then it is clear as day that violations are being committed against the environment. We are hoping PCA and FMB will conduct a thorough investigation on this matter,” said Arances. 

CEED is among the pro-environment organizations that closely monitor the developments of LNG and fossil gas in Batangas, which pose threat to an ecologically sensitive biodiversity hotspot known as the Verde Island Passage (VIP).

Father Edwin Gariguez, lead convenor of Protect VIP network, said, “if violations are being made in these early stages of the development of two new fossil gas and LNG projects, we have much to fear for the health of the Verde Island Passage.” 

“Eight new gas power plants and seven new terminals are planned in the area. Will the VIP have to repeatedly face injustice and destruction at the hands of gas proponents? We hope our environmental authorities will do their part in keeping watch over VIP,” the priest said. 

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