Thursday, July 29, 2010

Re-Look Into DEIA Report

Bernama, Thursday, July 29, 2010 15:21 PM

KOTA KINABALU, July 29 (Bernama) -- There will be a re-look into the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) report on the proposed coal-fired power plant in Lahad Datu, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said Thursday.

He said he would ask state tourism, culture and environment minister Datuk Masidi Manjun to look into the DEIA to ensure it was properly done.

This followed allegations the DEIA was faulty and ridden with mistakes, Musa told reporters after opening the country's largest palm oil technology expo, Palmex 2010, here.

He was commenting on news reports on non-governmental organisations (NGOs) here, which claimed the DEIA was faulty and should be re-done.

On Wednesday, Green SURF (Sabah Unite to Re-Power the Future), a coalition lobbying for cleaner energy options for Sabah, wanted the DEIA report re-done, claiming some of its baseline data collections were inappropriate.

It said, the mistakes included comparison with the wrong ecosystem, mention of species foreign to Borneo and misrepresentation of the Orang Tidong and Orang Sungai who were classified as being of Indonesian origin.

The non-governmental coalition and state agencies were engaged in a DEIA panel meeting here on Tuesday.

According to Green SURF, on the basis the report was a scientifically inadequate representation of the area, the DEIA should be rejected by the department of environment.

Reject Assessment for Power Plant!

The Borneo Post, Thursday, 29 July 2010.

And remember to submit your comments to the DOE, deadline is on THIS FRIDAY!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

BM Version of EIA letters and points!

Dear friends,

If you need a BM version of the EIA letter and 14 points, please go here :

We have till Friday morning!!

Its time to act now before we lose beauty and wonder such as seen in this picture which will die as it is at off the waters at GROUND ZERO.

Green Surf

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Time is running out...(EIA deadline this Friday)

Dear friends,

The deadline for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) comments is the 31st of July. While the term EIA sounds daunting everyone has the right to comment on this document.

To help regular folks like ourselves out, we have summarised the "problems" with the EIA out with 14 points of concern. Click here to view whole document or scroll down.

We have also composed a sample letter you can use to write your concerns to the Department of Environment (DOE). Click here or scroll down.

However, these letters MUST REACH THE DOE BY SATURDAY THE 31ST OF JULY. To make sure that these letters reach DOE by Friday, you can fax it directly to us at 088-244502. We will make sure it gets to the DOE by Friday.

These letters are extremely important but they need to be signed hence the faxing. They also need to have your name and IC number. If you need to send them via email please do so to but you will need to scan the letter as the letter needs your signature.

Whether you are Malaysian or not, please do take the time to write.


Points of concern


Comments on Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) for
the 300MW Coal-Fired Power Plant in Sinakut, Lahad Datu, Sabah.

Key points for public comments:

1. One of the objectives for the DEIA is to improve on the environmental design of the project. However, the public or technical people are unable to assess the environmental design as it is not outlined/described and it is therefore difficult to know the efficiency of the plant. For instance, the DEIA does not specify the type of plant parts used. To assess the plant, we need to know types of parts used for the coal plant as the type used will determine efficiency of the plant in the waste generated.

2. The potential mitigation measures mentioned in the DEIA are shallow and general. One of the objectives of the DEIA is to facilitate informed decision making. However, the DEIA report does not allow for this as there is a lack of basic design details, poor data on the marine environment, and assumptions of sufficiency based on no data are unacceptable at this level of review and assessment.

3. Compensatory mitigation for impact on marine environment, loss of income, health impact, greenhouse gases and others are completely overlooked.

4. Earthquake risk: It is inaccurate to say that the site is safe from earthquake tremors. The whole Dent peninsula is within the 40-100 kilometre range of earthquake tremors generated onshore and offshore. In April 2008, an earthquake at the Celebes Sea caused tremors in the Tungku area, near the proposed site. This resulted in cracks on several buildings including SMK Tungku and Hospital Tungku. A New Sunday Times article on 20th May 2007 quoted Sabah Mineral and Geoscience Department director Alexander Yan as saying Sabah has experienced 78 quakes in the last century.

5. Sampling done for the DEIA do not cover a wide enough range of sites to give a full understanding of the site and its surroundings. In short, sampling site chosen are not good enough to represent the area. In assessing the marine area, only two days were taken for sampling and why certain sites were chosen were not indicated. A habitat map showing sand, mud/silt, seagrass, rocks, corals and areas of high benthic diversity should have been done. Comparisons are made with far away locations and coral ecosystems instead of similar habitats. This is misleading.

6. There is no mention that Darvel Bay is home to resident and migratory marine animals like turtles, whale sharks, dolphins, dugongs and others.

7. Fish species used in the report as indicators are not representative of species found at the site. The species list should have been modified to cover locally common, unique or commercially important species.

8. There will be a large impact on larvae fish according to the study, but that there will be no impact on adult fish. It is misleading for the DEIA to state that there is no impact on adult fish as larvae wont have a chance to grow. Marine zones like seagrass, mudflats and mangroves are spawning areas for fish and crustaceans. Impact on fish larvae will effect fish populations over a wider area.

9. In its list of mammal species, the report stated two mammals that are not present in Sabah. The two are wild pig (Sus scrofa) and Dusky langur (Semnopithecus obscurus). In its list of bird species, the White rumped shama is not present in Sabah.

10. There is a lack of assessment and interpretation of results on phytoplankton. The report calculates Boyd’s Biodiversity index for phytoplankton and shows it to have a value approaching that of pristine waters, but this is not indicated.

11. The socio-economic study is doubtful. It states that the community in Kampung Sinakut are squatters, which cannot be the case for a traditional village with a village headman. The DEIA also states that “Orang Sungai” are of Indonesian descent. This clearly shows ignorance on the part of those doing the study.

12. A baseline study shows that acid rain is already present at the site with a pH of 4.66. There is a need to further study why acid rain is happening in the area. It is also wrong to compare agriculture and forested Dent peninsula with Petaling Jaya which is industrialised and urbanized.

13. Climate change as a major impact is not mentioned. The scope of the DEIA should include measures to minimise/mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from the proposed project.

14. Despite repeated newspaper articles that mention clean coal technology will be used, there is no mention of it in the DEIA. This is a cause of grave concern. Also there is no such thing as “clean coal technology” today hence it is extremely misleading to use this term.


Sample letter


xxst July 2010

The Department of Environment, Malaysia.

Comments on the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment for the 300 MW coal-fired power plant in Lahad Datu, Sabah.

Having read the DEIA report that was put up at some public places, I have a number of concerns on the overall project. There are glaring technical issues:-
• the existing physical environment has been wrongly represented by the consultants, thereby misleading the public;
• the full adverse impacts from the plant has not been discussed analytically,
• identification of species that do not exist in Sabah have been listed, and
• that potential mitigation measures are shallow and too general.

This does not allow me to assess the real situation. In short, the whole study is faulty and should be dismissed.

I would like to single out some points which I feel are important to Sabah’s tourism industry and our potential as a seafood basket for the nation and region. The following are my comments:

1. There is no mention that Darvel Bay is home to resident and migratory marine
animals like turtles, whale sharks, dolphins, dugongs and others.

2. Fish species used in the report as indicators are not representative of species found at the site. The species list should have been modified to cover locally common, unique or commercially important species.

3. There will be a large impact on larvae fish according to the study, but that there will be no impact on adult fish. It is misleading for the DEIA to state that there is no impact on adult fish as larvae wont have a chance to grow. Marine zones like seagrass, mudflats and mangroves are spawning areas for fish and crustaceans. Impact on fish larvae will effect fish populations over a wider area.

I am unimpressed with the way this study has been carried out, and I will continue to closely monitor the next step that the government takes on this plant.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

IC number


Monday, July 19, 2010

400 stage protest against coal-fired plan

Article taken from The Star Online
Sunday July 18, 2010

KOTA KINABALU: Some 400 people comprising villagers and folks from the east coast’s Lahad Datu district have voiced their opposition against a proposed 300MW coal-fired power plant.

In the one-hour gathering at the project site in Kampung Sinakut, some 60km from Lahad Datu town, the group held up banners to protest against the plant, which they said would have adverse effects on the environment.

The group included 200 people from Lahad Datu and a similar number from the seaside village of Kampung Sinakut.

“We will be first ones to feel any adverse environmental impact from this plant. That is why we are saying no,” said the group’s spokesman Vincent Ng.

He said Lahad Datu folks had also voiced their objections against the plant when giving their feedback on the project’s environmental impact assessment (EIA) report.

The demonstration was held even as officials from Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd, Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Lahad Datu Energy Sdn Bhd gave a briefing at a public forum in Kota Kinabalu.

Apart from assuring that the plant’s operations would have minimal impact on the environment, they said the coal would be mined in an area in Kalimantan, Indonesia, that would be replanted with trees.

“The coal for this power plant will not be from any Tom, Dick or Harry,” said TNB Fuel Services Sdn Bhd general manager for operations Zainal Abidin Shah Mahmood.

To a question, Zainal Abidin declined to say who was the owner of the coal mine in question, adding that this was a business issue.

Green Surf, a coalition of concerned groups including WWF Malaysia and the Sabah Envi­ronmental Protection Association, has objected to the plant.

Environmental groups also pointed out that the plant could have an adverse impact on the environmentally-sensitive Tabin Wildlife Reserve and the Coral Triangle, which Malaysia has pledged to protect.

Monday, July 12, 2010

New Sabah coal plant threat to ecosystem, says report

July 08, 2010
A villager walks in front of a coal-fired power plant on the outskirts of Shanxi province, China Nov 20, 2009. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 — The proposed 300MW coal-fired power plant in Felda Sahabat, Lahad Datu could, at the very least, raise sea temperatures by four degrees Celsius and displace some 70 families, according to a federal government report.

According to documents made available to The Malaysian Insider, the power plant near Kampung Sinakut, Lahad Datu, will also result in the loss of a traditional seaweed farming area measuring 4km.

Lahad Datu is located within Tawau in eastern Sabah and occupies the peninsula on the north side of Darvel Bay. The district is also the gateway to the Danum Valley Conservation Area (160 km away), the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in the east (20km away), and Madai Caves in the south.

The report warned that exposure to the transiting ships from the plant may harm the coral and marine life.

“At the jetty, there is a chance of spillage of oil, chemicals and other pollutants into the sea caused by accidents such as collisions or sinkings. Should the tugboats and their towed barges accidentally transit across, or close to Gazetted Marine Parks, or should they anchor, they may cause damage to the coral and harm marine life,” said the report of the detailed environment impact assessment (EIA) for the project..

The effect on seaweed farming would have a detrimental impact on nearby settlements as the communities’ livelihoods were dependent on fishing and seaweed farming.

The construction activity would have an adverse affect on the safety of the fishermen.

“The construction of the jetty will reduce the size of the fishing ground available to the local fishermen. The area near the jetty will no longer be available for fishing because of the construction activities that may pose danger to fishermen and their vessels and gears.

“Fishermen safety may also be adversely affected since construction activities (including increased in vessel movements for transporting construction equipment and materials) can increase the risk of collision and accidents involving fishermen vessels,” said the report.

The 300MW plant worth more than RM1.3 billion was proposed to generate power supply to help spur development of the Palm Oil Industries Cluster (POIC) Lahad Datu.

The proposed power plant will have four power units, each having a net electrical output of 75MW, and will use the most widely-used method of burning coal to generate steam.

The report stated that the maximum total ash generation in the power plant is estimated at 49,000 tonnes per year.

Fly ash is generally from the chimneys of coal-fired power plants while bottom ash is removed from the bottom of coal furnaces.

Most of the fly ash and some of the bottom ash produced by the plant will be sold to local cement manufacturers for construction material, while ash which is not sold will be disposed off in a designated ash yard.

However, studies have shown that ash containment yards could lead to groundwater contamination, which is hazardous to the environment and the inhabitants.

The report pointed out that the large amount of waste from the construction could also pose environmental risks.

It is estimated that the amount of solid waste generated by the workers would be about 2,000kg daily.

The coal plant was initially proposed in Silam, near Lahad Datu, and Sandakan, but both were rejected by the state government following protests.

The report also warned that the site would also cause an increase in emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon dioxide, along with a degradation in water quality.

Environmentalists and activists have voiced their concerns over the power plant because it would affect the state’s “last wilderness frontier.”

The power plant’s impact on marine life is a major factor because Darvel Bay is considered as one of the country’s main seaweed production centre.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry’s Fisheries Department has also identified the bay as the area most suitable marine industry development in Sabah.

Biomass Capability Potentially 1,000 MWs According to Private Sector (Of course not TNB!)

Take 2 minutes to watch this powerpoint presentation of the potential of biomass in Sabah!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Activists ask PM to Scrap Power Plant

KOTA KINABALU: Some foreign non-governmental organisations and individuals are lending support to a local group that is protesting a plan to build a coal-fired power plant in Lahad Datu.

Letters have been sent to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and websites have been highlighting the appeal from Green Surf (Sabah United to Re-power the Future) in its campaign to scrap the proposal.

Among those who wrote to the prime minister were American environmentalist Julia Butterfly Hill, best known for staying in an ancient redwood for two years to prevent loggers from cutting down an old growth forest, and Australian environmentalist John Seed, the founder of Rainforest Information Centre, which has campaigned to save sub-tropical rainforests.

International environment organisation, which works on building global grassroots movements to cut carbon dioxide emissions, Four Years.Go and Wiser Earth are mobilising their networks to support the letter campaign.

In a statement, Green Surf said that the World Land Trust, Women's Earth Alliance and portal are among at least 30 organisations which have expressed concern over the construction of a coal plant between the Coral Triangle and the Tabin Wildlife Reserve.

The Sabah coal story was the top most read story, with almost 9,000 hits on the site in May.

Green Surf's Cynthia Ong said copies of some of the letters were sent to her. There was deep concern globally about the proposal to build a 300 megawatt plant in Sabah which is known for its orang utan, rare rhinos and marine sites like Sipadan.

"In their letters, the organisations were positive about our prime minister's commitment to reduce the carbon emission intensity by up to 40 per cent by 2020. They admire his leadership in the Coral Triangle Initiative.

"They commended Datuk Seri Najib for his commitment to exploring alternative energy sources following his acknowledgement that Malaysia's current fuel mix for power is skewed too much in favour of natural gas and coal."

Ong said those who had written to Najib stressed the fact that the developing world does not need to repeat the damaging mistakes of the developed world, which now need huge resources to repair.

"The developing world can lead the way for the world into the 21st century and beyond. Malaysia has strong potential to blaze that trail.

"The opportunity exists now for you to be a champion for Malaysia and for the world -- to move forward into a clean energy future," she said, elaborating on details in the letters.

The organisations have offered to stand by Malaysia if it decides to build a clean energy economy.

"There are many organisations and individuals who are concerned about this project. They have been asking us about the government's proposal," Ong said.

Green Surf is a coalition of five NGOs and individuals which are asking the government to opt for clean energy options to solve power woes in Sabah. Coalition members include WWF-Malaysia, Land Empowerment Animals People (Leap), Sabah Environment Protection Association (Sepa), Malaysian Nature Society-Sabah and Partners of Community Organisations (Pacos).

Global Call to Scrap Coal Plant

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