The Energy Development Corp. (EDC) welcomed Environment Secretary Regina Lopez’s announcement that her agency will look into the alleged violations committed by the company in its Negros Occidental operations.
“We look forward to the opportunity to show Secretary Lopez that our Negros expansion is perfectly above board and the allegations about expanding into Mount Talinis are untrue,” EDC president and COO Richard Tantoco said.
Lopez said that she will look into complaints of residents and non-governmental organizations based in Negros who opposed EDC’s planned expansion in its geothermal plant, saying that it would lead to destruction of forests in Mount Talinis.
Lopez said that she will not hesitate to “use the force of law” to protect the environment and preserve the ecological balance of Mount Talinis and other biodiversity areas.
“We will look into this and I assure the public that the DENR will be fair through the entire process and take into account the concerns of all,” she said in a statement.
EDC has submitted an application for environmental clearance certificate for the expansion of their 223-megawatt (MW) geothermal plant in Valencia, Negros Oriental. EDC is looking to expand the plant’s capacity by 60 MW.
The Environmental Management Bureau office of the DENR has held public hearings on the application for gathering positions and opinions of stakeholders.
“Through good environmental governance, we aim to harmonize our economic activities with nature through sound practices that will not only address climate change, but ensure the sustainable use of our resources, conservation and preservation” Lopez said.
EDC was accused by Zeph Repollo of 350 Pilipinas for killing 576 trees on Mount Talinis or Cuernos de Negros a few years ago, which is a conservation priority area due to high endemism and severity of threats.