BANGKOK – A Thai state energy company Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) involved in a major hydroelectric project on Burma’s Salween River has been accused of ignoring environmental safety checks and public opinion for a similar project it is financing in Laos.
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) “has not conducted an environmental impact assessment in Thailand for the Xayaburi dam, nor has it conducted adequate public consultations,” said the Save the Mekong coalition.
The NGO, made up of representatives from several countries through which the Mekong flows, is seeking an injunction in a Thai court to suspend EGAT’s plans to buy electricity from the Xayaburi dam.
“Independent studies have found that EGAT has grossly over-estimated the amount of electricity Thailand needs, and that it also has not studied potentially cheaper or greener electricity generating options,” a statement by the NGO said.
The Mekong forms part of Burma’s border with Laos, and Cambodia and Vietnam have demanded work on the dam to stop, pending further environmental studies.
EGAT is planning to part finance the Hat Gyi Dam, the biggest of several proposed for the Salween River in eastern Burma with a generating capacity of 1,300 megawatts, and which would provide most of the electricity to Thailand.
By William Boot – (Irrawaddy)