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Jakarta Post

Bank of China to evaluate Batang Toru hydropower plant project

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, March 14, 2019   /   01:57 pm
Bank of China to evaluate Batang Toru hydropower plant project A large hydroelectrical project is planned right in the middle of the most important habitat for highly threatened orangutan in Batang Toru, North Sumatra. (Matty Neikrug/Matty Neikrug)

Bank of China has said it will evaluate its funding commitment to the Batang Toru hydropower plant project in North Sumatra amid environmental concerns.

“Bank of China will evaluate the project very carefully and make prudent decisions by duly considering the promotion of green finance, fulfilment of social responsibility as well as the adherence to commercial principles,” the bank said in a statement posted on its website.

“We attach great importance to corporate social responsibility in our global operations and ensure that our business activities abide by local laws and regulations. We are committed to supporting environmental protection globally and upholding the principles of green finance.”

Environmentalists have expressed their appreciation to the response and decision made by the Medan State Administrative Court (PTUN Medan) over a lawsuit submitted by the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi).

“We hope the project will be stopped, starting from the funding as well as the planning by state-owned electricity company PLN,” said Orangutan Information Center (OIC) director Panut Hadisiwoyo in a statement on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz said the bank had responded positively to the effort to save the orangutan habitat.  “It is good news. […] We really hope they evaluate the project and not belittle the risk that we and experts have noted,” Hurowitx added.

The protested US$1.6 million project will be developed by PT North Sumatera Hydro Energy (NSHE) in cooperation with China’s Sinohydro.

Among the environmental groups that protested the project were the OIC, Center of Orangutan Protection (COP) and Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP) (bbn).