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Assembly reviews hydro project environment risks

Update: April, 25/2013 - 09:10

Cat Tien National Park.—Photo thiennhien.net

HCM CITY (VNS)— Authorities in southern Dong Nai Province have asked the National Assembly to reject the proposed hydro-power projects Dong Nai 6 and Dong Nai 6A because of environmental risks.

The hydro-power projects would destroy all upstream forests in the region, said the chairman of Dong Nai People's Council, Tran Van Tu.

Tu spoke at a meeting with a visiting mission from the National Assembly's Science, Technology and Environment Committee on Tuesday.

"Residents along Dong Nai River, including those in HCM City, would suffer an unimaginable disaster if the reservoirs of these hydro-power plants broke," said Tu, who also heads the group of NA deputies from Dong Nai Province.

The change of the stream's flow of Dong Nai River would seriously affect the life of 20 million residents in HCM City as well as Dong Nai and other provinces in the lower section of the Dong Nai River, Tu added.

A representative of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment said the project investor's Environmental Report had left out many potential problems on the side of the project. In addition, the report has not been approved by the authorities, he added.

For example, the investor, the Duc Long Gia Lai Group, did not map out afforestation plans for the land that would be used to build the hydro-power projects. Phan Thi My Thanh, deputy chairwoman of the Dong Nai People's Committee, said that existing hydro-power plants built on the upper section of Dong Nai River have had a negative impact on the socio-economic development of the lower section, including Binh Duong Province and HCM City.

These plants had brought profits, but not much, she said.

Vo Van Chanh, deputy director of Dong Nai Province's Department of Resources and Environment, said the Dong Nai 6 and 6A projects could produce 1 billion kWh of electricity at a low investment, but the project would negatively affect the living conditions of nearly 20 million people residing on the lower section of Dong Nai River.

Investment

Authorities in southern Dong Nai Province have asked the National Assembly to reject the proposed hydro-power projects Dong Nai 6 and Dong Nai 6A because of environmental risks.

Le Quang Huy, deputy chairman of the NA Science, Technology and Environment Committee, asked the investor and several ministries to supply further figures on the proposed Dong Nai 6 and 6A projects' environmental impact on Cat Tien National Park, as well as the legality of issues related to investment and governmental agencies' assessment procedures.

Tu said the legal status of the project must be determined before being submitted to the NA for approval.

"The hydro-power projects 6 and 6A, under articles of the Law of Heritage and the Law of Water Resources, must be carefully considered before investment decisions are made," said Tu.

"In petitions sent to the National Assembly, the Politburo, and the Prime Minister, Dong Nai Province has stated our point of view, to stop the hydro-power projects named Dong Nai 6 and 6A."

Dong Nai 6 and Dong Nai 6A, with the total design capacity of 240MW, were proposed to be built on the main stream of the Dong Nai River.

If the two plants were built, they would inundate a large forest area and would encroach on a large area of 170 hectares of the Cat Tien National Park, according to Tu.

In addition, the building of big water reservoirs and hydro-power plant dams would stop the migratory path of endangered wildlife. Also, serious environmental damages caused by the project could not be repaired.

Although the project investor has committed to protect the forest by planting trees in allocated land areas and enriching the varieties in the forest, the investor's report did not show the location for forest re-plantation.

Meanwhile, there has been no proof showing that the Cat Tien National Park's Board of Management and the local authorities of the three provinces where the projects are located have committed to allocate 372 hectares of land to the Duc Long Gia Lai Group to implement the afforestation project. —VNS





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