Environmental groups in Negros Oriental handed over a copy of more than 3,000 petition signatures to Valencia Mayor Edgar Teves to stop the Energy Development Corporation's 60-megawatt geothermal expansion project at Cuernos de Negros, or Mt. Talinis.
The 350 Pilipinas coordinator Zephanie Repollo said the mayor showed support to the groups and committed to ensure transparency of the project, a government press release said.
The Office of the Mayor will likewise arrange a dialog among the complainants, officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the EDC.
The dialog aims to bring answers to questions raised by the different environmental groups regarding EDC's alleged non-disclosure of its development plans, Repollo said.
EDC is waiting for an environmental compliance certificate for its proposed development block, which covers an additional 60MW.
However, in a recent media briefing, EDC Negros Island Geothermal Business Unit senior manager, Vicente Omandam, explained that the latest expansion will utilize approximately 30 hectares within the “development block” of the firm's Southern Negros Geothermal Field in Valencia and not at Mt. Talinis, as claimed by the environmental groups.
Omandam said the expansion will be distributed in six sites within EDC's existing geothermal fields and power plants.
The groups have clamored for full transparency of EDC's proposed development block and demanded that there will be no more expansion at Cuernos de Negros.
Forest Management Bureau director Ricardo Calderon of DENR recently clarified that EDC has not yet applied for tenure for a particular area which needs clearance from a local government and endorsement from concerned agencies before a project will push through.*
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