SEPA to prove power plant detrimental to people

TAWAU: Sabah Environment Protection Association (SEPA) will prove that the proposed Kubota power plant is not according to  procedures and is detrimental to the people of Tawau, especially to residents of Taman Millenium.

SEPA Tawau president Gary Yap said the proposed Kubota power plant must be in line with Environmental Quality Act 1974, and in this case, the Kubota power plant is an industry and should not be built in a residential area.

Gary said SEPA would prove that this project is illegal and is not following any proper procedures.

SEPA, he said,  would like to highlight the following:

1. SESB is unlawfully occupying state land/land reserve under public residential purposes under Sabah Land Ordinance Sect 166.

He said a letter from Jabatan Tanah  Ukur, ref L.S.1019.1.10/23  stated that CL105386034 is under land acquisition  for the purpose of power transmission.

Under sect 30 (bb), SPECIFIC  RIGHTS RESERVE, the right to construct supply lines for conveying, transmitting or distributing electricity, laying down gas pipelines shall be determined in accordance with the procedures laid down in the land acquisition ordinance (cap 69).

2. Zoning — under a letter from MPT ref: MPT/PBP.12.90.83 dated 03 Sept 1997, the stated proposed planning brief on CL105361135, CL 105384834 and CL105361153 at Jalan Sin On Eastern, Tawau is zoned under a residential area.

“Therefore the power transmission station is zoned under the said area,” he said.

Under Environmental Quality Act 1974, the project proponent must ensure that the concept of the proposed project does not contradict any development plans, policies or any decisions of the government of Malaysia prior to Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) study.

3. Power generation – under Environmental Quality Act 1974, Appendix 2, Section 13 A, the Department of Environment’s(DOE) explanation is that if there were no steam generation then it does not need an EIA report.

However, SEPA does not agree with the interpretation of the DOE.

“The key words under section 13 (a) are, steam generation, and burning fossil fuel of 10MWcapacity,” Gary said.

“DOE is ignoring the fact that the power plant is burning half a million litres of diesel, and with a capacity of more than 10MW, and they come to a conclusion that no EIA was required.

“Section 13 (c), says the construction of a combined cycle power station needs an EIA, and in case of the Kubota power plant,  it has a single stage gas turbine power generation, meaning the Kubota power plant has only 30 per cent efficiency whereas a combined power plant has 60 per cent efficiency. Therefore, the Kubota power plant would have more heat and air pollution.

“Why did the DOE approve the project without the need for an EIA?” he asked.

Even though the DOE had given the licence to Kubota power plant to operate, SEPA believes that Environmental Quality Act 1974 was not properly followed.

Gary said the definition of “industry plant” means any plant used for the generation of power or for any industrial use or for the operation of ships, dredges, locomotives, cranes or other machines.

“The Kubota power plant is squeezed into a tiny piece of state land whereby the safety of the plant is not taken into consideration.

“The million-liter diesel tank is build too close to the main road and the fuel diesel discharge point is build right on the shoulder of the road reserve. This project does not take safety features into consideration, be it fire, lightning, health or environment.

“According to Datuk Pang Yuk Min, the plant is operating on gas/petrol and is expected to be completed by October.

“Pang is misleading the people of Tawau by stating that it can run on gas or petrol. Gas is contained in spherical shaped tanks, and petrol is highly flammable and is stored underground. The tank that is now being build is meant for diesel only.

“SEPA need not prove that the whole project is detrimental to the people of Tawau because that fact is elementary.

“Pang should understand that under the EIA Act, under a section on flora and fauna, even a monkey has to be taken into consideration; what more the people of Taman Millennium?

“It is not about the minority; it is about environment and law, and not about politics,” Gary told the media during a press conference here yesterday morning.

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