Save the #Surfing Capital of the North from destruction -- No to Coal-fired Power Plant!

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The Global Luzon Energy Development Corporation (GLEDC), a joint venture company (set-up by the corporations of billionaires Manny Pangilinan of Meralco and George Ty of Metrobank, among others) plans to build and operate a massive 670 MW Coal-Fired Power Plant (CFPP) in Luna, La Union, Philippines.  Construction of the CFPP is expected to commence in August 2018.

Based on the environmental impact study done by GLEDC consultants, the CFPP's nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emission is predicted to cover practically the northern part of La Union (including parts of Benguet and Ilocos Sur, as shown in the map above). With frequent typhoons and seasonal air currents, NO2 will reach a wider area thereby affecting not only La Union but the entire planet as well. NO2 is part of a group of gaseous air pollutants produced as a result of coal combustion. Its presence in the air contributes to the formation and modification of other air pollutants, such as ozone and particulate matter, and to acid rain. NO2 causes lung problems and other environmental issues. Scientific studies also show that air pollution from coal-fired power plants is linked to cancer, heart ailments, neurological problems, global warming, and other severe environmental and public health impacts.

The host town (named after General Antonio Luna, whose mother hails from the place) is known for its natural geophysical and cultural assets of high touristic value.  It has a unique pebble-rich shoreline with a centuries-old Spanish watchtower (“baluarte”). It has white beach/cove and coral areas rich in marine life – the main source of livelihood of thousands of fisherfolks. Its Mt Kangisitan, which abounds with rare flora and fauna, is the only remaining rainforest in La Union. It has irrigated fertile lands that thousands of farmers depend on for food and livelihood. It has museums and an art gallery, as well as hotels and resorts frequented by tourists. In the immediate vicinity of the proposed plant is a heritage park dedicated to the heroism of USAFFE soldiers in WW2. Within the 5 to 20 aerial-kilometer radius of the proposed coal-fired plant are the towns of Balaoan, known for its bountiful corn harvests and biodiverse coral gardens, and of San Juan, the surfing capital of the North.  All of these will be degraded and eventually destroyed once the CFPP starts spewing toxic chemicals.  Moreover, the water heated by the plant’s cooling system will blanch and damage supersensitive corals.

We are one with our local officials in wanting to see the town of Luna and the province of La Union develop and prosper.  However, with all due respect, we disagree with their decision to endorse the CFPP.  We strongly oppose GLEDC’s plan to build and operate a risky, pollutive and destructive coal-fired plant at the expense of residents, visitors and even the next generation!

We APPEAL to our beloved President Rodrigo Duterte, DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu and all concerned government officials to:

1.    Deny GLEDC’s application for an environmental compliance certificate (ECC); revoke if already issued. The proponents used deceit, bribery and strong-arm tactics to suppress opposition to their plan and did not fully comply with the required ECC processes as it only consulted residents in the five (5) barangays in and around the proposed 41-hectare site and excluded/ignored other towns and barangays within the plant’s immediate impact area as shown by the NO2 modelling exercise done by its own environmental consultants.

2.    Pursue an alternative development agenda that is consistent with the Agri-Tourism Development Strategy of the Provincial Government of La Union headed by Hon. Gov. Pacoy Ortega. The proposed site and the nearby Darigayos Cove and Mt Kangisitan can instead be developed as an ecotourism zone linked with other touristic attractions of La Union.

3.    Identify and develop renewable energy sources to augment the country’s power supply. More solar and wind farms similar to those in Ilocos Norte should be built as soon as possible.

 SAVE LA UNION!

Yes to Progress! Yes to clean and renewable energy! Yes to the establishment of a Special Economic and Ecotourism Zone in Luna!

NO TO COAL-FIRED POWER PLANTS!



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