Activists lukewarm on Lopez at DENR

Pro-environment activists are adopting a wait-andsee attitude on how Regina “Gina” Lopez, a scion of the influential Lopez clan, will reconcile her impeccable track record in environment conservation and the business interests of her family particularly in production of geothermal power through the Energy Development Corporation and Green Core Geothermal Incorporated, both owned by her family.

Aidalyn C. Arabe, of the ONE-MC/350 NegOr, believes that in the strictest sense Lopez’s appointment as DENR Secretary, were a number of permits for the expansion projects of EDC remain pending for approval.

However, Lopez’s commitment to protecting the environment particularly against mining has been above reproach. The activists are also willing to give her the benefit of doubt. Incoming President Rodrigo Duterte has offered Lopez the environment portfolio, which she has since accepted.

Insiders of the EDC, believe that Lopez’s appointment to DENR will further enable them into strictly following all environmental laws regulations to set a powerful example to all other companies.

Meanwhile, Engr. Vicente Omandam, Senior Manager for EDC’s Negros Island Geothermal Business Unit refuted several allegations hurled by local activists by dismissing them as fiction.

He pointed out that contrary to the environmentalists’ accusations EDC’s expansion was legal; the cutting of trees was minimized from 1, 339 approved by DENR to 576 with just 6 characterized as century-old trees; EDC adopts zero discharge system that geothermal well and reinjection pipes are protected by 4 layers of casing and cement drilled underground 2 to 4 kilometres deep while the source of potable water is located 300-500 meters below the ground and that EDC is only operating at the foot of Mt. Talinis as it was impractical to construct geothermal facilities much less a road network at its peak.

Nevertheless, Arabe asserted that both EDC and DENR have a lot of explaining why hundreds of trees were cut and burned near the Nasulo power plant. (By Dems Demecillo)

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