GREEN SURF PRESS RELEASE

KOTA KINABALU (26th Nov 2010): Green SURF (Sabah Unite to Re-Power the Future) is shocked and disappointed that a revised Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) study will be resubmitted for a proposed coal-fired power plant in Lahad Datu.

The coalition said although the Department of Environment (DOE) rejected the study in August, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) has in its 2010 annual report stated that a “revised DEIA report will be resubmitted for review and approval” for the 300 megawatt plant.

The utility company had in one-paragraph stated that a DEIA study was submitted on May 26 to the DOE, followed by a sentence that it would be resubmitted, without making any mention of the rejection.

Green SURF representative Wong Tack, pointed out that the project has been rejected before and relocated twice, wasting time, money and effort on debating a dirty energy source.

“Sabah should be leveraging on its position as a biodiversity hub to attract investments for green power. Instead, we are wasting time on this proposed coal plant.

“There is commitment among the international community to support forest, wildlife and marine conservation work in Sabah  and here we are talking about building a coal plant between the rainforest of Tabin and the Coral Triangle.

“Building a coal plant in Sabah , and especially next to the Coral Triangle, does not just break the hearts of locals, but also the world,” he said in a statement issued by Green SURF today.

The coalition sent a reminder that early this month Sabah hosted an international conference on forests and climate change, where the issue of carbon trading was raised as an alternative to logging in earning revenue, conserving key wildlife habitats in the process.

“It doesn’t make sense that we are trying to attract investments in carbon trading if we are going to have a coal plant at an eco sensitive area. We don’t deserve international support for conservation or investments for carbon trading if this is the case,” Wong said.

Green SURF is a coalition of NGOs comprising the Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA) of which Wong is president, Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP), WWF Malaysia, Partners of Community Organisations (PACOS) and the Malaysian Nature Society (Sabah branch).

***

Press Release

KOTA KINABALU (25th October 2010): A coalition of non-governmental organisations here wants the Government to take a stand on the status of a proposed coal-fired power plant in Lahad Datu.

The request from Green SURF (Sabah Unite to Re-Power the Future) comes two months after the federal Department of Environment (DOE) rejected the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment report for the 300 megawatt project.

Green SURF’s Mr Wong Tack said the coalition was still waiting for a decision on whether the project will continue.

“We would like to know the stand of the authorities, in particular the Sabah Government. Green SURF wrote to the Sabah Government over three weeks ago, but we have yet to get feedback.

“We hope the State Government will take a stand based on the importance of the east coast of Sabah as a marine habitat. A huge amount is now being invested for activities in these areas, including through the national Budget for 2011,” he said in a statement issued by Green SURF.

Wong said there was too much anxiety at present over the proposed plant, especially among members of the public who have been in touch with the coalition.

“The public is asking for the State to focus on developing energy from renewable and green sources,” Wong said.

He said the power shortage problem in Sabah was still serious, and that too much time has been wasted on plans for a controversial coal plant, which has seen proposed sites shifting three times.

Wong said a recent speech made by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on the need to make a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy as a way to create a firm foundation for a greener economy was in line with calls made by Green SURF.

Wong said the Renewable Energy Policy and Action Plan, and a dedicated statutory body called the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA Malaysia), must swing into work quickly.

He said the construction of a 300 megawatt Combined-Cycle Gas Power Plant in Kimanis as announced in the recent Budget must be expedited to increase electricity generation to meet rising demand.

The Budget also listed pioneer status and investment tax allowance for the generation of electricity from renewable sources and energy efficiency activities to be extended until Dec 31, 2015 and the implementation of a feed in tariff mechanism under the Renewable Energy Act to allow electricity generated by individuals and independent providers to be sold to electricity utility companies.

“This is not the time to just talk, but to do something. We are glad that better feed in tariffs are being considered for implementation. Such initiatives are needed for investors to take up renewable energy projects.

“The Government has to make it attractive for the private sector to play a role in developing green energy,” Wong said.

Green SURF comprises the Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA) of which Wong is president, Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP), WWF-Malaysia, Partners of Community Organisations (PACOS) and the Malaysian Nature Society (Sabah branch).

***

Photos from SEPA (Sabah Environment Protection Agency Lahad Datu Branch)
For more photos please click facebook page below:

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PRESS RELEASE

KOTA KINABALU (10th October 2010): Encouraged by public support for its efforts to push for clean energy, Green SURF (Sabah Unite to Re-Power the Future) today held beach clean ups in Tanjung Aru near here, and at Kampung Sinakut, Lahad Datu.

The activity at Kampung Sinakut was particularly significant as it is the site for a proposed 300 megawatt coal-fired power plant. Over 50 villagers joined Green SURF members from Lahad Datu to pick trash from the beach, which forms part of the Coral Triangle.

In Tanjung Aru, volunteers including students, turned up just before the event started at 10.10am, walking the length of the beach to collect plastic wrappers, bottles and a variety of other trash including shoes and food containers.

Several tourists were also seen joining in the clean up. They were given biodegradable plastic bags to carry out the task.

The events in Sabah were part of over 7,000 Global Work Parties held on Oct 10 to push for a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions as concerns grow over the impact of climate change on livelihoods.

The two locations were chosen to highlight how rising sea levels resulting from climate change could have an impact on coastal areas in Sabah, and that no one is spared from environmentally unsustainable development.

Green SURF registered its Borneo-Global Work Party: Coast2Coast with 350.org, an international grassroots campaign aimed at mobilizing people to bring carbon dioxide emissions back down to and below the scientifically-determined safe level of 350 parts per million (ppm), from the current 390ppm level.

After collecting trash, Green SURF members worked alongside those who turned up to spell out “350” on the beach.

Green SURF is made up of Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP), WWF Malaysia, Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA), Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Sabah branch and Partners of Community Organisations (PACOS).

The five NGOs came together after the Federal Government announced the construction of a coal plant at Kampung Sinakut, at the shores of the Coral Triangle.

In mid August, the federal Department of Environment rejected the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment for the proposed project.

***



Press Release

Public Invited to Beach Clean Up in KK, Lahad Datu

KOTA KINABALU (7th October 2010): The public is invited to clean up two beaches in Sabah this Sunday as part of a global event to stop climate change.

The clean up activities will be carried out at Tanjung Aru’s first beach near here, and at Kampung Sinakut about 100 kilometres from Lahad Datu, from 9.30am.

The Sabah event to raise awareness on issues such as renewable energy, joins over 6,000 Global Work Parties that will be carried out worldwide on Oct 10 to push for a cut in carbon dioxide emissions.

Green SURF (Sabah Unite to Re-Power the Future) registered the local event with 350.org, an international grassroots campaign aimed at mobilizing people to bring carbon dioxide emissions back down to and below the scientifically-determined safe level of 350 parts per million (ppm), from the current 390ppm level.

Green SURF’s Ms. Cynthia Ong said the coalition is hopeful of attracting a good crowd to both locations, which are vulnerable to rising sea levels resulting from climate change.

“We have seen a lot of support from locals who want Sabah to go for clean energy in solving its power shortage problem.

“This global event on our shores is a good way for the public to learn more about climate change, which is an issue that is not isolated to some parts of the world. It has an impact on all of us,” Ong said in a statement issued today.

She said Green SURF members will work with those who show up to create the number “350” using collected trash.

Green SURF comprises Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP) of which Ong is Executive Director, WWF Malaysia, Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA), Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Sabah branch and Partners of Community Organisations (PACOS).

The five NGOs came together a year ago after the Federal Government announced the construction of a coal plant at Kampung Sinakut, at the shores of the Coral Triangle.

***

Press Release

KOTA KINABALU (3rd October 2010): A Sabah event to raise awareness on climate change and renewable energy joins over 5,200 Global Work Parties that will be carried out worldwide on Oct 10 to push for a cut in carbon dioxide emissions.

Green SURF (Sabah Unite to Re-Power the Future), which has seen growing support from individuals who want clean energy, is holding events at the Tanjung Aru beach here and in Kampung Sinakut, Lahad Datu, ground zero for a proposed 300 megawatt coal-fired power plant.

The coalition of non-governmental organisations registered its Borneo-Global Work Party: Coast2Coast with 350.org, an international grassroots campaign aimed at mobilizing people to bring carbon dioxide emissions back down to and below the scientifically-determined safe level of 350 parts per million (ppm), from the current 390ppm level.

Green SURF’s Ms. Cynthia Ong said that being part of the worldwide network with more than 5,200 events in 175 countries is significant for Sabah, combining local efforts and coming together globally to fight dirty energy and promote clean energy.

“We are changing the energy conversation and we are excited to be part of a global climate change movement with 350.org,” Ong said in a statement issued by Green SURF today.

Green SURF members will work alongside the people of Kota Kinabalu and Kampung Sinakut to collect trash at both locations and spell out “350” on the beach. A local recycling plant will take the trash when the event ends.

Ong said the two beaches were chosen as venues to highlight their vulnerability to rising sea levels resulting from climate change.

She said the event that starts at 10.10am is also a platform to celebrate the first anniversary of the founding of Green SURF which has in a short span strengthened the civil society movement to address energy and related environmental and social justice issues.

“Our initial focus was on mobilizing around the coal-fired power plant issue in the east coast of Sabah and advocating for clean energy options. Within a year, we held numerous events, produced a clean energy options for Sabah report and built both local and global movements to support our campaign.

“The civil society voice is crucial for accountability and we want and need to be an integral part of the conversation; a civil society taking ownership and responsibility is a sign of an evolving society. We intend to stay, we intend to engage and we intend to influence,” she said.

Green SURF is made up of Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP) of which Ong is Executive Director, WWF Malaysia, Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA), Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Sabah branch and Partners of Community Organisations (PACOS).

The five NGOs came together after the Federal Government announced the construction of a coal plant at Kampung Sinakut, at the shores of the Coral Triangle.

In mid August, the federal Department of Environment rejected the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment for the proposed project.

***

PRESS RELEASE

KOTA KINABALU (26th Sept 2010): A renowned energy expert who did a study on Sabah’s options in resolving its power shortage problem without resorting to a coal-fired power plant will take on a new role at the World Bank on Oct 4.

Professor of Energy, Daniel M. Kammen who is with the University of California in Berkeley, will become the organisation’s Chief Technical Specialist for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.

Kammen and several others prepared a report titled “Clean Energy Options for Sabah: An Analysis of Resource Availability and Cost” after he was commissioned by Green SURF (Sabah Unite to Re-Power the Future).

He also presented a summary of his report at a public forum on energy options held here in March, where he answered queries on types of cleaner power sources that would be viable for Sabah.

Kammen who is among the world’s leading authorities on energy, had stated that Sabah, and Malaysia as a whole, stand to gain from using clean energy as it is a premium product.

His appointment to the World Bank was reported in several American publications, including the San Francisco Chronicle and Grist Magazine.

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, he was quoted as saying that energy use was growing rapidly in developing countries.

“In terms of implementing new ideas and hardware, developing countries is where it is at,” Kammen was quoted as saying.

The newspaper reported that one of his tasks at the World Bank would be to help developing nations choose the right policies and techniques to expand their use of renewable power.

Green SURF’s Cynthia Ong said the coalition of non-governmental organisations was pleased to learn about Kammen’s new job.

She said Kammen’s report was submitted to a number of Government representatives, including Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, adding that findings of the study was widely reported locally and in international publications and online sites.

“We are aware that there are people who have questioned Kammen’s report, despite our assurance that he is a world renowned energy expert.

“Kammen’s appointment to the World Bank is testimony of this, and we congratulate him,” Ong said.

She added that Green SURF would be more than happy to share the report with anyone who has not read it.

Green SURF is made up of Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP) of which Ong is executive director, Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA), Malaysian Nature Society (Sabah branch), Partners of Community Organisations (PACOS) and WWF Malaysia.

The coalition was formed a year ago when Najib announced plans to construct a 300 megawatt coal-fired power plant at Kampung Sinakut, in Felda, Lahad Datu.

The proposed plant is at the shores of the globally significant Sulu Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion and at the apex of the Coral Triangle.

Following protests and concerns raised by Green SURF and individuals who support the coalition, the Department of Environment rejected the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) in August.

It remains unclear at present if the proposed project will continue.

***

GREEN SURF TAKES ‘ACTION COMMITTEE’ TO TASK

KOTA KINABALU (28th August 2010): Having received strong support from locals asking the Government to scrap the proposed coal-fired power plant, Green SURF (Sabah Unite to Re-Power the Future) is taking the People’s Assembly Action Committee which surfaced recently, to task.

The coalition of non-governmental organisations wants the Committee to give details on a claim by its chairman, A. Nagaraju that people in Sabah’s east coast want the project to proceed.

Green SURF’s Wong Tack, who is also Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA) president, said Nagaraju should answer who exactly he was referring to.

“The people have been saying no to this project from the first site in Silam, Lahad Datu and eventually the State Government said no to this location due to health and environmental considerations. When it was proposed for Sandakan, people there protested.

“We formed Green SURF last year when Sinakut was proposed as the third site. We have seen support for the coalition grow from day to day, and even individuals have come in to help us.

“We would like to ask Nagaraju who the majority of people in Sabah’s east coast who want this project are,” Wong said in a statement today.

He was reacting to a media report in which Nagaraju claimed the people of the east coast want the project to proceed in order to spur economic development.

Wong also pointed out that caps and t-shirts were given out for free to lure the public to a pro-coal rally organised by the Action Committee in Lahad Datu on Aug 21 in order to draw support.

The Federal Department of Environment (DOE) had in mid August rejected the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) that was submitted by Lahad Datu Energy for the 300 megawatt plant at the shores of the globally important Sulu Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion (SSME).

Green SURF had received close to 500 copies of letters from the public addressed to the DOE questioning the DEIA and calling on the Government to reject the project.

Wong added that a poll conducted among members of the Lahad Datu Chinese Chamber of Commerce showed that 86.2 per cent objected to the proposed plant.

He added that the project has now been rejected three times, and that any appeal for it to proceed is an insult to the people and the democratic process.

Wong said even State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun was quoted as saying he hoped any decision by the project proponent to re-submit a DEIA is “dictated by conscience and public opinion.”

“This whole issue has angered the people of Sabah. We wonder why this Action Committee is so eager to see the continuation of this project when we should be focusing our attention on finding alternatives to solve the power shortage problem,” he said.

Apart from SEPA, other members of Green SURF are Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP), WWF-Malaysia, Malaysian Nature Society (Sabah branch) and Partners of Community Organisations (Pacos).

***

Related News;
Beach vanishes as strong waves threaten village
Dept ‘not to blame for delay’

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