We celebrate the triumph of Atimonan’s storied fight against MGen’s coal-fired power plant. This victory against coal, which was initially considered quixotic, is shown to be winnable as proven by all the communities, advocates, and volunteers who have fought for eight years to prevent the plant from poisoning Quezon with its noxious emissions. All those who joined the fight can take heart knowing that we have beaten coal.
But we cannot rest on our laurels. MGen’s proposal to convert its coal facility to gas has opened a new chapter in the struggle for clean and affordable energy. Like most sequels, MGen’s gas conversion proposal is worse than the original – twice as much as the old coal project in capacity, and more blatant in ignoring the wishes of the host community and the law. As they seek to recycle their Environmental Compliance Certificate, they should be cautioned that we are keeping our eyes on them in ensuring that they follow environmental laws in place.
We have beaten coal and we can beat gas. The proposed conversion shows that a community determined and united to protect the health of its people, the purity of its environment, and the future of its children will win. And we will win again and again until these companies finally realize that we will only welcome renewable energy. Fossil fuel will never have a place in Atimonan.
Quezon for Environment (QUEEN), Power for People Coalition (P4P), Tanggol Kalikasan, Ministry of Ecology – Diocese of Lucena, Caritas Philippines, Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED), Sanlakas, Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)