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Published: Wednesday 25 September, 2013

outlet online stores outlet online stores Errors in DEIA leaves Sabahans stunned

BUSINESSMAN SY Lee reacted by muttering the word incredible to a local newspaper article while sipping Tenom kopio at a coffee shop in Lintas Plaza here last week.

He was responding to the report quoting a representative of a group of NGOs who found factual errors in the detailed environmental impact assessment DEIA of a proposed 300mW coalfired plant in Sabahs east coast.

The NGO grouping under the umbrella name of Green Surf Sabah Unite to RePower the Future comprises of WWF Malaysia and Sabah Environmental Protection Association Sepa.

Environmetally challenging: Sabahans hope the state government will have a second look at alternative power.

It was at the meeting that NGO representatives discovered errors in the DEIA and among them were the inclusion of non existent animals species in Borneo such as the Dusky Langur, a type of monkey and white rupm shama a bird that was said to have been spotted at the project site in Kampung Sinakut, some 300km from the state capital.

In addition, the communities living the area included the Orang Sungei and Tidung that were wrongly described as of Indonesian origin.

As Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman rightly pointed out, all prepatory work for a proposed coal fired plant must be above board.

He said studies like the DEIA for the project must be accurate.

Such studies should not have any room for questioning. It must contain correct information, he said, in the wake of the errors.

The mistake are causing some Sabahans to wonder how many more errors and more serious ones are there in the DEIA that is supposed to assess the impact of coalfired plant on the Tabin Wildlife Reserve and Darvel Bay.

Both areas are among Sabahs most ecologically diverse and sensitive areas.

The Sabah government ha outlet online stores s since moved the project site twice from Silam in Lahad Datu district to Sandakan, also in the east coast and now to Kampung Sinakut, again near Lahad Datu.

Reports on the mistakes in the DEIA are prompting some Sabahans again to question the necessity of power plant fuelled by coal when the state has extensive natural gas reserves in the west coast.

And then, there was a Universiti Tunk outlet online stores u Abdul Rahman UTAR finding on hydropower, biomass and the Bakun dam as feasible alternatives to a coalfired power plant in the state.

These options met key objectives of the National Energy Policy, which includes promoting the use of clean energy and minimising negative impacts of power production to the environment.

Results also show the options are not only environment friendly, but also cost efficient.

This was revealed in a paper written by UTAR doctoral student Koh Siong Lee and his supervisor Dr Lim Yun Seng.

The paper used Sabah as a case study to investigate the feasibility of achieving a balance between needed economic growth and protecting the environment.

It is very encouraging to find from the results that, not only are these options more environmental friendly and lower running cost than a coal plant.

This is mainly due to savings from the fuel cost. These three options have higher capital cost.

The paper warned that tourism may suffer as there is concern the coal plant will threaten sensitive ecosystems that attract a large number of travellers to Sabah each year.

The renewable and green options are technologically proven, financially attractive and emit little greenhouse gases.

The UTAR paper stated that there should be minimum barriers for Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd SESB and the government to adopt biomass from palm oil, hydropower and electricity from Bakun which have more than adequate potential to meet 300MW that would be generated by the coal plant.

Now, Sabahans like SY Lee can only hope that the government will have a second look at alternative sources of power generation in the state instead of coal. Otherwise, their fear is that their children will have to face the consequences of todays mistakes. outlet online stores