[Statement] of the Diocese of Lucena against Coal-Fired Power Plants in Quezon Province

Statement of the Diocese of Lucena against Coal-Fired Power Plants in Quezon Province

We, the clergy, religious and lay people of the Diocese of Lucena, recognizing the need to uphold the integrity of creation and the common good for all human persons, especially in the face of the present climate emergency, fervently oppose the two (2) coal-fired power plants proposed by SMC Global Power Holdings to be constructed Brgy. Ibabang Polo, Pagbilao, Quezon. We also reiterate our strong opposition against the construction of Atimonan One Energy (A1E) 600×2 MW coal-fired plant in Brgy. Villa Ibaba in Atimonan, Quezon. We call upon these corporations and their power subsidiaries to listen to cry of the earth and cancel their plans to set up this dirty, deadly and costly source of energy. We appeal to the local and national government and their respective agencies, to listen to the cry of the people of Quezon and disallow these projects and any further coal plants in our beloved province.

The proposed coal-fired power plants by SMC subsidiaries: (1) the 4×355 MW of Central Luzon Premiere Power Corp. (CLPPC) and (2) the 2×355 MW of Lumiere Energy Technologies, Inc. (LETI) are currently in the pre-permit stage of project development and are planned to commence construction this August 2020 and July 2021 respectively. Quezon province already has two (2) operational and four (4) other coal plants. These two projects by SMC, and the ongoing one by A1E, will add more environmental degradation and health risks to our locality. Already, the people of Quezon, especially the poor and vulnerable, have suffered respiratory and skin diseases associated with toxic coal plant emissions. Furthermore, they have been robbed of their land, their livelihoodin particular, those fisherfolk of Lamon and Tayabas Bay and their rights from pollution, development aggression and exclusion from decision-making processes.

Pope Francis, on the 5th anniversary of his historic ecology encyclical letter, Laudato Si, in May 2020, has echoed his call to build “safe, accessible, reliable and efficient energy systems based on renewable energy sources that would make it possible to respond to the needs of the poorest populations and at the same time limit global warming.” The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has urged countries to stop financing the coal industry, to deliver a sustainable future following the pandemic. In a recent online summit hosted by the International Energy Agency, the UN chief said that “coal has no place in Covid-19 recovery plans.”

We oppose these coal-fired power plants also because they are entirely inconsistent with the care for our common home so desperately needed today. Given that humanity must do all it can to prevent a catastrophic 1.5°C warming by 2030 and thus phase-out coal as an energy source by the same year, these power plants must be ceased. Their cancellation will not only prevent massive greenhouse gas emissions but will stand as a decisive rejection of all unsustainable and carbon-intensive practices here in Quezon and the rest of the country.

Instead of constructing outdated, profit-oriented and polluting power plants, we enjoin these coal proponents and these subsidiaries to instead place their efforts and resources in developing Quezons renewable energy sources and ensure that both ecological balance and human dignity are benefited (CBCP Pastoral Letter, July 16, 2019). Second, we urgently ask the Quezon LGUs to stand unanimously against all coal projects and include the marginalized and those most affected in decision-making, while the Department of Natural Resources should revoke the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) of the applicant companies and review the environmental compliance of other coal plants in our province. Finally, we call upon all the faithful of the Diocese of Lucena to take a stand against all practices which destroy God’s creation, to commit themselves to care of the earth and the poor and to work for the realization of God’s Kingdom where the life of each flourishes upon a green and vibrant common home.

Reject SMCs and other Coal Projects in Ibabang Polo and the rest of Quezon province. End Coal now!

Signed by:
The Bishop and the Clergy of Lucena
Annual Spiritual Retreat
August 24-28, 2020
Sentro Pastoral ng Diocesis

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