Province asks PM to stop hydropower projects, namely Dong Nai 6 and 6A in Cat Tien NP, Vietnam.
Authorities in the southern province of Dong Nai have petitioned Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to halt two planned hydropower projects on the Dong Nai River because of their likely harmful impact. >> Dong Nai hydro projects should be stopped: UNESCO >> Dong Nai authorities say ‘No’ to hydropower projects >> Dong Nai hydroprojects should be suspended: expert In a proposal sent to the prime minister and the National Assembly’s Committee for Science, Technology and Environment yesterday, deputy chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Tri requested that the two hydro projects, Dong Nai 6 and 6A, planned to be built on the river, be stopped. In the proposal, Tri, who is also head of the Dong Nai Biosphere Reserve Management Board, recommended that these projects be removed from the overall plan for terraced hydropower on the river. An environmental impact assessment report for the twoprojects has been made available and is being examined by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the proposal said. Accordingly, these projects will occupy 137.5 hectares of forest in Cat Tien National Park and have a significant impact on the Dong Nai Biosphere Reserve, the proposal said. They will directly affect the Bau Sau (Crocodile Lake) Ramsar site, a wetland area of international important list in Cat Tien Park; cause floods during the rainy season and water shortages in the dry season in downstream areas; undermine and cause a loss of habitat for many rare and precious species of, including those at risk of extinction; bury the Cat Tien cultural relics; and affect the culture and life of local ethnic minorities. The forest areas that are expected to be used for the projects are not exhausted, as vaguely assessed in a previous report, but in fact have ecological systems with high biological diversity. If built, the twoprojects will violate not only Vietnam’s applicable laws, but also related international conventions to which Vietnam is a party, the proposal said. Therefore, the projects should be canceled since the short term social and economic benefits they can create will not make up for the losses and damage they will cause for the environment and people’s lives in the long run. In addition, these projects also contain other unforeseeable risks, according to the proposal. The Dong Nai Biosphere Reserve covers 969.993 ha belonging to 63 in 13 of Dong Nai, Lam Dong, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc and Dak Nong Provinces, with a total population of 450,000 people. In March, the provincial People’s Council also proposed that the Government and the National Assembly’s Standing Board not agree to the construction of two hydropower plants in the upstream area of the Dong Nai River, since they will have a negative impact on the environment and local life. These projects will create additional electricity for the country, but will also cause immeasurable and unforeseen damage to the environment and life in the areas affected by the two plants, the Council said. Similarly, at a seminar titled “The Dong Nai River Basin: Impacts of the Hydropower Projects” held in Ho Chi Minh City on December 16, 2012, experts warned that the hydropower projects should not be approved as they would violate laws and damage the environment. “It is not advisable to build these two plants, as they may have a great impact on the entire region’s natural and social environment, causing immeasurable and irreversible consequences.” said Dr. Le Anh Tuan, from the Climate Change Research Institute of Can Tho University.