Kepco-SPC coal plant gets okay but still under watch
The Capitol lifted its cease-and-desist order over a coal plant operated by the Korean Power Corp.-Salcon Power Corp. (Kepco-SPC) in barangay Colon, Naga City, yesterday, but residents feared the pollution will only worsen.
Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia announced the lifting of the order to local media after receiving confirmation from Provincial engineer Eulogio Pelayre that all the mitigation measures were set in lace at Kepco-SPC’s coal yard.
“Seeing the sincerity of Kepco-SPC, (I lift the order) so they can continue their operations to produce power that Cebu needs but (doing this) while protecting the environment and health of constituents,” Garcia said.
Garcia said she would notify Kepco-SPC about her decision, along with her reminder that the Capitol will monitor the coal plant’s operations to see if they are complying with their commitment.
Some Colon residents fear that coal dust pollution will continue and may even worsen.
“With that kind of permission, they will continue with their present insufficient measures since it is approved by the authorities,” Rodien Paca of the Naganian Awareness Against Pollution (NAAPA) in Barangay Colon said.
A video posted in NAAPA shows the visible presence of coal dust inside the house of one of the residents located 100 meters away from the Kepco-SPC coal plant.
Paca said their group immediately reported this to the Naga City government last Monday but received no response.
He complained about coal dust permeating his home last Saturday.
“We had vigilantly watched Kepco-SPC operations and still dust are (invading) our house. My family and I are stricken,” Paca said in a text message.
He claimed that 50 percent of his neighborhood had coughs and fever.
“If we can prove circumstantially that coal dust from Kepco-SPC caused the sickness, I will be the one to file a case against this irresponsible company,” Paca said.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-7) also visited the coal plant yesterday to conduct another testing on the solid air particulates in the area.
In a press statement, Kepco-SPC explained that the dust came from their coal unloading system, which they tested after repair last April 26.
The dust was caused by dry coal that stuck in the conveyor belt, said Reinerio Lastimoso, Kepco-SPC general manager for community, public relations and environment.
The incident lasted for two minutes beginning around 6 p.m. but their contractor fixed the system, he added. With Correspondent Carmel Loise Matus
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