Jakarta, August 30, 2018- Environmental activists and experts condemn the construction of mega hydroelectric power plants (PLTA) Tampur that have obtained land-use permits in the districts of Aceh Tamiang, Gayo Lues, and East Aceh, Aceh Province. The construction of a hydropower plant inside the Leuser Ecosystem (KEL) is considered to damage the habitat of Sumatran elephants, threatening the survival and livelihood of people living downstream of the Tamiang river and violating licensing rules. In his presentation, Riswan Zein, a Landscape Protection Analyst from the Sustainable Ecosystem Foundation (YEL) said that the Tampur Mega Hydropower Project will open access to primary forest areas, causing further clearing to forest and hunting activities, these conditions will reduce the integrity of the protected function of the National Strategic Area of the Leuser Ecosystem. According to Riswan, “the Lesten River Valley which will be inundated by the reservoir is an important roaming corridor for the Sumatran elephant population, the corridor will be totally broken because of the very steep topography; this will push this population towards extinction.”
In addition to ecological impacts, Riswan added several social risks and disasters that would arise due to the construction of hydropower. “According to the Environmental Impact Analysis (ANDAL) document issued by PT. KAMIRZU, the area of the inundation is estimated at 4,090 hectares and to meet the inundation as large as the area takes up to one year, it is certain that 50% of the villages located downstream of the Tamiang Watershed will experience severe drought during that period, “Riswan said . The location of Tampur hydropower located east of the Great Sumatran Fault makes the location of this dam at one of the centers of the Sumatra mainland earthquake. The 193 meter high dam has the potential to break down and engulf many lives to bring disaster to the people who are downstream. “It has been noted historically that there have been several large earthquakes, around 6.0 SR around the dam site, the higher the dam withstand large amounts of water pressure, the riskier it is to break down and flood downstream communities, we certainly do not want the dam to collapse such as in Laos last July 2018 to also happened in Indonesia, “said Riswan.
Breaking the Licensing Rules
Not only damaging and potentially catastrophic, the Tampur hydropower development plan also reaps with problems regarding the permit process. M. Fahmi, the HAkA Foundation Legal Team revealed that, “Borrow-Use Of Forest Areas Permit (IPPKH) used by PT. KAMIRZU is deemed not in accordance with the provisions of the prevailing laws and regulations, because based on the Ministry of Environment and Forestry Regulation of the Republic of Indonesia on Guidelines on Borrow-Use of Forest Areas, IPPKH can only be issued by the Minister based on the request, although within that law the Minister can give authorisation to the Governor a representative of the central government in the region, but only for the construction of public facilities that are non-commercial with a maximum area of 5 (five) hectares, while this project has been ascertained using more than five hectares of forest area and is not included in the category of non-commercial public facilities such as mentioned in the Regulation of the Director General of Forestry Planning”.
Within the period that has been granted for 1 (one) year from the Governor’s Decree is issued, PT. KAMIRZU has also not been able to show the specified supporting documents, so that the IPPKH becomes null and declared invalid. “Therefore, the IPPKH should be revoked and the permit holder is subject to sanctions in accordance with laws and regulations, if the permit holder does not fulfill the obligations and / or violates the provisions referred to in this permit. We also request that the central government, in this case the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to not issue IPPKH regarding with the construction of the Tampur Hydroelectric Power Plant”, explained Fahmi who also stressed that his party together with the Environmental Defenders Association (P2LH) would take this case to court if in the period when IPPKH was not valid, logging activities or transporting heavy equipment in the Tampur hydropower project area continues.
Meanwhile, the people living in the downstream of the Tamiang river begins to feel anxious about the plan to construct the Tampur hydropower. “We feel anxious because we were traumatized by the flash floods that hit Aceh Tamiang in 2006. It’s not that we are anti-development, but there are still many other places that can generate electricity without destroying the forests and causing disasters,” said Matsum, an Aceh Tamiang resident who started the petition “Cancel the Tampur Hydropower Project that Threatens Millions of Life” on the Change.org page. The petition can be seen at the change.org/TolakPLTATampur link and has gotten more than 5000 support and continues to grow.
M. Fahmi (Yayasan HAkA) : +62 852 6024 2338
Riswan Zein (Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari) : +62 812 6553 591
Project Manager PT. KAMIRZU : Dedi Setiadi, (firstname.lastname@example.org / +62 8129 8296 484)
Leoni Rahmawati (email@example.com / +62 812 9464 1038)