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Jakarta Post

Court rejects lawsuit challenging Buleleng power plant project

  • Luh De Suriyani

    The Jakarta Post

Denpasar   /   Sat, August 18, 2018   /   07:10 am
Court rejects lawsuit challenging Buleleng power plant project Farmers work next to Warung Tasik on Les Beach, Tejakula, Buleleng. Environmental activists said a new coal-fired power plant project in Celuk Bawang threatened livelihoods of farmers and fishermen. (JP/Luh De Suriyani)

The Denpasar State Administrative Court (PTUN) has rejected a lawsuit challenging the controversial plan for the expansion of the Celukan Bawang coal-fired power plant in Buleleng, a regency of Bali best known for dolphin tourism.

In a ruling that dashed the hopes of local residents and activists wanting to stop the expansion, the court declared on Thursday that the expansion plan posed no threat to the environment, nor did it put at risk the livelihoods of local farmers and fishermen.

The petition had been filed by three residents and Greenpeace Indonesia to challenge the Bali governor’s decision to grant the permits for the expansion of the power plant, arguing that the expansion would threaten the ecosystem.

The three-judge panel said that the plaintiffs’ arguments were based on assumptions and not on scientific evidence or arguments from experts.

Several environmental groups had filed an amicus curiae brief (a brief filed by someone who is not a party to a case), but to no avail.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Wayan “Gendo” Suardana, said the ruling was unjust.

“There was no sense of justice there. [The judges] only considered the testimony of witnesses presented by the defendant; they also didn’t conduct an on-site examination,” he said.

He added that the petitioners would appeal to the Surabaya State Administrative High Court (PTTUN), which also covers Bali.

The developers of Celukan Bawang, having secured permits from the Bali administration, plan to boost the plant’s output from the current 426 megawatts to 660 MW to ensure electricity supply in Bali, which relies heavily on Java-based power plants.