Sunday, March 20, 2016,
Santo Domingo, D. N.

On the occasion of yesterday Earth Hour, the National Committee to Combat Climate Change asked the Administrative Court to protect a hundred thousand people from Baní and other communities in the Peravia province of the harmful health effects and environment that will produce the pollution of coal plants the government building in Punta Catalina.

In the panel that conducted in the afternoon yesterday, the spokesmen of this entity and exhibitors in the activity, Professor Enrique de León and economist Hector Turbi, ensured that these plants cause a health and environmental disaster in a range between 10 and 30 kilometers from Nizao to the Central mountain range, north and northwest of Baní, where they are located National Parks Father Luis Quinn and Maximo Gomez and scientific reserve Erik Leonard Ekman.

They said that the judges of the Supreme Administrative Court are required by article 66 of the Constitution of the Republic, to protect the rights of people to health and the enjoyment of a healthy environment, and precede any consideration of a political, economic and any other, the principle of prevention and environmental precaution established by Article 8 of the Law on Environment and Natural Resources.

They explained that the principle of prevention and precaution requires authorities to take action on environmental issues to the cancellation of projects, even if possible alleged damages are not absolutely proven.

“In the case of coal plants, these damages are absolutely proven globally by scientific studies conducted by national and international government agencies, by universities and research institutes, which have led to the dismantling of these plants in the US, in Europe, China and many other countries, “reported the exhibitors.

They confirmed that the Higher Administrative Court received five scientific reports in which the damage caused by coal plants are shown, two of these studies are specific on the draft Punta Catalina, and four were developed by international experts and organizations recognized scientific accreditation .

On 7 March, the Supreme Administrative Court heard the merits of the appeal of preventive environmental protection filed by the National Committee to Combat Climate Change (CNLCC), the Lawyers Institute for Environmental Protection (INSAPROMA) and organizations Peravia province and elsewhere in the country against coal plants Punta Catalina. The court ruling for next time reserved undetermined date.

The organizations requested in this appeal that the court halt the construction of coal plants and to order the replacement of coal by natural gas as fuel for these plants.

“In the country there is the possibility of supplying natural gas to these plants through Andrés, Boca Chica, and less contaminant and infinitely cheaper if you take into account what it costs to mitigate and remedy the inherent features and exclusive of coal “they expanded exhibitors.

They noted that these plants will produce 175 thousand tons of ash and 14 thousand tons of slag per year, representing a single year more than 4 times throughout the rockash or coal ash that was deposited in 2004 in Arroyo Barril and Manzanillo, producing on that occasion an environmental and health emergency in those communities.

They indicated that the case of rockash is a precedent that should guide the Supreme Administrative Court, because this deposit coal ash company that brought the country this material was forced by a US court to pay $ 6 million to the Dominican government, and here another court sentenced to 6 months in prison and ordered to pay 10 thousand minimum wages, the officer authorized to be deposited.

Indeed these ash and slag products from coal combustion contain multiple toxicants produce respiratory diseases such as asthma and lung cancer, skin diseases, and have a radioactivity level higher than normal whose prolonged exposure may cause various cancers and altering DNA causing genetic damage.

They also claimed that these plants will emit microparticles containing heavy metals that cause respiratory diseases by inhalation as lung cancer and heart attacks and brain, with a high rate of premature deaths per year.

They belied the first vice president of the Dominican Corporation of State Electrical Companies (CDEEE), Ruben Jimenez Bichara, in the sense that these plants will prevent more than 90% the emission of toxic gases and these particles.

“According to the environmental impact study commissioned by the CDEEE, plants Punta Catalina will have dry filters in the chimney and not humid which are the most advanced, so only retain a small proportion of these particles,” they commented .

They noted that a significant amount of these microparticles, called secondary PM2.5, are formed in the atmosphere from acid gases emitted by plants and thus can not be retained by a filter.

“The proper study of the environmental impact of the CDEEE, admits that the day will escape into the atmosphere every day 30 tons of nitrogen dioxide and 30 tons of sulfur dioxide are responsible for the formation of these microparticles, acid rain, fog and smog.

They said also these gases, microparticles and ash pollute the air, soil and water, crops, especially fruits hanging and herbaceous species, which means that the mango, coffee and cocoa, widespread crop in this province and are the backbone of the local economy will be severely affected.

The speakers drew attention to the ironic and cynical contrast between the government commemorating Earth Hour by turning off the lights in the presidential palace, while building coal plants Punta Catalina throw into the atmosphere more than 6 million carbon dioxide to year, the main greenhouse gas, which causes climate change.

This emission of carbon dioxide will increase by more than 20% carbon footprint of the country, cause damage per year valued at 266.28 million dollars (calculated from the criteria of the EPA, Agency US Environmental) and finally will draw the Dominican Republic among recipients of green funds established by the World Climate Conference last November.

DSC_0049(1)0049: Members of the National Committee to Combat Climate Change and Climate Justice by the commemorative fabric of Earth Hour artist Wilfrido Velázquez Gómez

00015: The leader of CNLCC and Climate Justice, Domingo Acevedo present the program of the panel held in the afternoon yesterday, Saturday 19th, in commemoration of Earth Hour.

0019: Professor Enrique de León when exposed in the Sanitary and Environmental Catastrophe panel and coal plants.
0028: Economist Hector Turbi expounds on the harmful effects of coal plants Punta Catalina and corruption aspects of this project.

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