Last update:
2017-10-20

Quezon coal fired power plant in Atimonan, Philippines

Protesters demand that governments and energy producers respect the fundamental right to breathe clean air. Moreover, “coal-fired power plants speed up global warming,” the protesters said.


Description:

In June 2015, protesters led by Church leaders, marched in protest of a planned coal power plant in Atimonan town, the third coal power plant that the province of Quezon would host [1]. More than 1,500 protesters dramatized opposition to the proposed 1,200-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in the town that faces the Pacific Ocean, some 173 km south of Manila. “As we celebrate the World Environment Day (June 5), we also declare our strong opposition to another coal-fired power plant in Quezon province,” said Efrelyn Escultura-Calabano, assistant program officer of Tanggol Kalikasan-Southern Luzon.[1]. Dubbed as “Lakad-Dasal-Bibliya para sa Kalikasan,” the procession first went around town before stopping in front of the municipal hall for a short program. The marchers proceeded to the town’s Our Lady of the Angels Parish Church grounds for an overnight vigil. The program at the church compound was filled with  speeches against coal-fired power plants, protest songs and dances. In a statement, the protesters urged the public “to stand up and demand that governments and energy producers respect the (people’s) fundamental right to breathe clean air and not see it as a threat to their profits.” “Coal-fired power plants speed up global warming,” the protesters said. Originally, plant proponent Meralco PowerGen planned to put up a liquefied natural gas (LNG) combined cycle power plant on a 80-hectare land in Barangay Villa Ibaba. However, Meralco converted the project to a coal plant in the absence of a government policy supporting the LNG industry. The local government has already approved the project that would generate 1,000 to 2,000 jobs for local construction workers aside from a tax windfall expected from the plant’s operations.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Quezon coal fired power plant in Atimonan, Philippines
Country:Philippines
State or province:Quezon
Location of conflict:Barangay Villa Ibaba, Atimonan Municipality, Quezon Province,
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Coal extraction and processing
Specific commodities:Coal
Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Atimonan power station, 1200MW, was originally proposed as a power plant fueled by liquified natural gas, but the project proponent, Meralco PowerGen, later changed the fuel to coal. In February 2015 the project was approved by the Quezon provincial legislative council, or Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP). Final approval of the project rests with the national government. The project received an environmental compliance certificate from the Environment Department on Oct. 13, 2015. In November 2015, it was reported that Meralco was still searching for partners for the project, which was estimated at US$2 billion , "with the partner likely Japanese or Korean and probably not Chinese," according to company chairman Manuel Pangilinan. In February 2016, Pangilinan expressed uncertainty about what sort of energy mix was favored by the Philippine government: "Should we turn to coal plants... should we turn to gas plants? What are the limits:” The certificate of land use conversion for the project was received in March 2016. Construction of the resettlement site is ongoing. The debt portion of the project (i.e., the capital needing to be raised) was $2 billion; the equity portion was $700 million, for a total of $2.7 billion. Permits were in hand, and resettlement of 50 of the 70 families living on the site had been finished. [2].

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Level of Investment:2,700,000,000
Start of the conflict:06/2015
Company names or state enterprises:Meralco PowerGen from Philippines
Relevant government actors:Quezon provincial legislative council
Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Catholic Church
Greenpeace
Philippine Movement for Climate Justice
Reclaim the Power
350.org
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Neighbours/citizens/communities
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Street protest/marches
Youth camp
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Global warming
Health ImpactsPotential: Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsCoal dust, respiratory illnesses
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Outcome
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Strengthening of participation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:It seems the project is going ahead by 2017, with financing still pending.
Sources & Materials
Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[3]Activists protest financing of coal projects. By BusinessMirror. October 5, 2017
[click to view]

[2]Atimonan power station. The Center for Media and Democracy. Sourcewatch.
[click to view]

[1]Quezon townsfolk cry: Enough of coal power plants, By: Delfin T. Mallari Jr. - @inquirerdotnet. Inquirer Southern Luzon / 04:36 AM June 06, 2015
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Report in favour of the project. 3 March 2017.
[click to view]

Youth camp against the project. May 2017. For the past two years I’ve witnessed the growth of the anti-coal movement in Atimonan, Quezon, led by the Catholic Church through the work of the Our Lady of the Angels Parish. From leading mass mobilizations like the Lakad-Dasal para sa Kalikasan (prayer march for the environment) in protest of the proposed coal plant, to educating the people about the true cost of coal; from organizing people to to be involved in the protection of the very environment they are living in, to solarizing their Church, the anti-coal movement in Atimonan is at the forefront of climate action.
[click to view]

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Contributor:JMA
Last update20/10/2017
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