BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
A business decision.
This was the personal assessment of Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson on the move of San Miguel Corporation to put on hold its 300 megawatt LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) combined cycle power plant project in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental.
SMC withdrew its application for an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) for its proposed 300-megawatt LNG power plant project in San Carlos City, which faced strong opposition from environmentalist groups and Bishop Gerardo Alminaza.
The withdrawal was confirmed by the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-EMB) in a letter dated November 14, 2022 to Avril de Torres, Deputy Executive Director of the Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED).
“This is a victory for Negrosanons, who have made their voice clear that they preferred renewable energy to LNG in sourcing their power for the island. Although LNG is considered a ‘transition fuel’ by some, it is clearly unnecessary for Negros, which boasts of extensive renewable energy facilities,” de Torres said.
Bishop Alminaza voiced the environmental and economic concerns of Negrosanons over the project and had earlier written a letter to SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon Ang regarding it.
Lacson said he has yet to receive a formal notice from the proponent.
Personally, I think it’s always a business decision, the governor said, as he recalled the decision of the same company not to push through earlier its plans to build a coal fired power plant in San Carlos City.
“I am grateful for the help of the Almighty in ensuring that the voice of the people of Negros are heard and that the natural beauty of our island can be preserved through the minimal use of fossil fuels. Negros is the center of renewable energy in the country, and we hope that the rest of the Philippines would follow its lead in saying no to fossil fuels and accelerating the adoption of the more affordable and sustainable renewable energy. We also hope that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan will finally listen and pull out the resolution of non-objection it prematurely issued to the project,” Bishop Alminaza said in a statement.
“We remain committed as partners in caring for our environment and renew our call for SMC & other companies, as well as for the government to hasten the shift to RE (renewable energy), and for financial institutions to stop financing fossil fuels,” Alminaza added.*