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August 08, 2013

Local Communities Defy Southeast Asia’s Largest Proposed Coal Plant in Indonesia

Indonesia
Photo Credit: (c) WorldIslandInfo.com

In the tropical waters off the coast of Indonesia, a storm is brewing.

In the face of intimidation and human rights abuses by police and government representatives, five villages are standing united against a proposed 2,000 MW coal-fired power plant in Batang, Indonesia. They know that if the plant moves forward, it will destroy their land, their livelihoods, and their health. That’s why, just like communities here in the U.S. are opposing proposed new coal plants, these communities are calling for a halt to this coal project.

The Batang plant would require 200 hectares of ancestral land, displacing numerous families, endangering a marine protected area, and releasing 10.8 million tons of carbon pollution and hundreds of pounds of toxic mercury into the air each year. Who stands to benefit from the project? The foreign investment company PT Bhimasena Power Indonesia, and the Japanese government, which has invested $4 billion in the project. Who stands to lose? The local villagers standing up to protect their air they breathe and the water they drink.

The Indonesian government is pressuring villagers to give up their land for the coal plant in spite of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s pledge to cut Indonesia’s carbon emissions 26 percent by 2020. In fact, as the largest proposed coal plant in Southeast Asia, this single project would emit more carbon pollution than the entire nation of Myanmar.

But Indonesia has an alternative. The country is home to abundant renewable energy resources that can power the country without resorting to dirty, outdated, and deadly coal technology. You can stand with the five villages fighting to protect their way of life, and actual lives, by signing the petition to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Sign it today.

--Vrinda Manglik, Sierra Club International Program Intern

 

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