Hydropower Plant investor disregards public outcry

Disregarding the public outcry to the Dong Nai 6 and 6A Hydropower Plants on Dong Nai River due to their negative impact on the environment, the Duc Long Group, main investor of the projects, is making plans to go ahead with the project.

Nam Cat Tien forest will be destroyed by Hydropower Projects in Dong Nai Province (Photo: SGGP)

In a report sent to the National Assembly in Dong Nai Province, the Duc Long Group has included a study showing the benefits of the two above projects.

The Group has cited a loss to society if the two projects are not implemented, as under the projects only 300 hectares out of 71,350 hectares of the Cat Tien National Park will be used, which in turn will  yield nearly one billion kWh of electricity to meet the needs of Lam Dong, Dak Nong and Binh Phuoc Provinces.

Ninety five percent of the 300 hectares is already barren forestland, which does not have any rare or protected fauna and flora species. The projects will not therefore cause damage to the biodiversity in the area.

The investor affirms that the projects will not greatly affect the environment or the lives of residents in the lower reaches, including Dong Nai Province and Ho Chi Minh City.

The Dong Nai 6 and 6A projects do not require evacuation or resettlement of people, and hence the native culture of the local people will not be disturbed. The investor will compensate for houses and farm land over an area of only 2.9 hectares.

Nonetheless, the above arguments were received with strong protests from scientists and the public alike, who say that data in the environment impact report given by the group has not yet been assessed by authorized organs.

According to Vu Ngoc Long, head of the Southern Institute of Ecology, in a recent survey scientists discovered several endangered animals and plants in the area targeted for the Dong Nai 6 and 6A projects. These include Black-shanked Douc, Yellow-cheeked gibbon and Palawan Peacock-Pheasant. The area also has an unknown tea species and an unknown ginger species.

Scientists said that the two projects will affect the river flow in the dry season, causing parts to deplete.

On the other hand, Dr. Dao Trong Tu, director of the Center for Sustainable Development of Water Resources and Adaptation to Climate Change, said that the two small reservoirs of the projects will not be able to help reduce flooding in the lowlands.

From a legal angle, the Duc Long Group said that their projects were approved by the Prime Minister two years ago under a Hydropower Development Plan for the period 2011-2020.

However, leaders from Dong Nai Province said that several provinces in the central and central highland regions have proposed an adjustment of the above plan due to negative impact to people and the environment and that their proposal had been approved.

In addition, the Dong Nai 6 and 6A projects are covered by Resolution 49 of the 12th National Assembly, which specifies that projects using more than 50 hectares of land in national parks and nature reserves must allow the National Assembly to choose investors.

They are also ruled by the biodiversity law, water resource law, culture heritage law and several other regulations of the Government.

As a result, implementation of the Dong Nai 6 and 6A projects must be reconsidered by authorized organs, ministries and the National Assembly.

Related articles:
Environment impact to decide future of hydropower projects on Dong Nai river
Dong Nai Province objects to hydropower plants

Council finds report on Hydropower Plants peripheral

By Hoai Nam – Translated by Hai Mien

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