Activists slam 'fast-track' order

A grassroots network has lashed out at the use of special powers to "fast track" mandatory environmental impact assessments (EIA) for megaprojects.

A network of 46 civic groups, including Sueb Nakhasathien Foundation (SNF) and the Stop Global Warming Association (SGWA), issued a statement Wednesday, calling on the government to scrap an order issued on Monday by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, in his capacity as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) chief.

PM must stick to his promise

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha reiterated the country's commitment to sustainable development to representatives of the G77, a coalition of developing countries in the United Nations, at the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.

As the current chairman of G77, he urged member countries to do the same and work together to promote sustainable development.

Last September, the premier also told the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York that he supported pro-people, inclusive development that respects the rule of law.

Now he must prove true to his words.

Enforce land zoning laws

Following fierce criticism from civic and grassroots groups, the Charter Drafting Committee (CDC) has finally promised to include community rights clauses in the draft charter. Violent conflicts over the exploitation of natural resources still loom large, however, when the military government insists on bypassing land zoning laws to back environmentally destructive industries.

The CDC has done the right thing by listening to people on the ground. The military government and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) should do the same to protect the environment and public health.

Locals protest fast-track plants

Environmental activists and local communities affected by development and power plant projects have renewed calls for the prime minister to revoke his orders speeding up the approval process for them.

They gathered Tuesday at the Office of the Public Sector Development Commission, opposite Government House, to renew their calls. The protest group consisted of some 100 activists and residents from various provinces, including Krabi, Chachoengsao and Pathum Thani.

PM confirms SEZ assessments

Environmental and health assessments must be conducted before the construction of power plants despite orders issued under Section 44 to clear the way for the development of 10 special economic zones (SEZs), Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha confirmed yesterday.

The premier asserted that construction of power plants will depend on environment and health impact assessment (EHIA) reports and environmental impact assessment (EIA) studies.

Danger in power plants

The government's decision to speed up its controversial energy and development programmes is deeply disappointing. It has decided to press ahead with them without consulting the communities involved. It also is determined to bypass many environmental checks. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is employing the draconian Section 44 of the temporary constitution, a doomed provision that will soon expire.