San Carlos mayor asked to prove coastal care leadership, veto proposed LNG plant

May 11, 2022 by No Comments

IMMEDIATELY after the election day, environmentalists, youth, people’s organizations (POs) and Diocese of San Carlos Bishop Gerry Alminaza have called on the city’s incumbent mayor Renato Gustilo to be true to his pledge to “work towards thriving and prosperous coastal communities.”This is by putting his [Gustilo] foot down against a liquefied natural gas (LNG) power plant proposed by San Miguel Corporation (SMC) owned Reliance Energy Development Inc. (Redi), the groups said in a statement yesterday, May 11.Gustilo, who ran for Mayor unopposed in local polls, was recently awarded by international conservation organization Rare as among the 500 coastal leaders from different countries working to support healthy and sustainable fishing communities.In a letter dated March 9, 2022, the group said “the people of San Carlos City are in dire need of strong leadership that recognizes and protects the importance of healthy and sustainable fishing communities… Unfortunately, San Carlos residents are currently facing many threats to their coastal resources and livelihoods, most concerning among which is the 300-megawatt (MW) LNG plant proposed by Redi-SMC.”They said the planned fossil fuel power plant is located in the San Carlos Ecozone facing Tañon Strait, a body of water separating Negros and Cebu which houses thriving marine life including commercial fish, dolphins, and whales.The groups warned that the project, if built, will generate increased shipping traffic and emissions, destroy marine habitats, mangroves, and wetlands along the shoreline, generate pollution, and expose local communities to various hazards.Alminaza, who is also the convenor of local clean energy advocacy group REpower Negros, said “this is a moral decision we expect him to make with utmost sincerity and urgency.”The letter was signed by local stakeholders and supporting organizations including Youth for Climate Hope (Y4CH), Tanon Strait Fisherfolk Federation, Lapayran People’s Organization of Bantayan, Cebu, Oceana Philippines, Philippine Earth Justice Center (PEJC), and Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (Ceed). (With PR)