Climate and Environment

DENR asked to stop Batangas gas projects

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
DENR asked to stop Batangas gas projects
Fisherfolk hold a protest in the waters of Batangas City on April 22, Earth Day to denounce the expansion of fossil gas plants and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the area.
Mara Manuel for Center for Energy, Ecology and Development

MANILA, Philippines — Clean energy advocates and locals affected by liquefied natural gas facilities in Batangas called on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to stop the operations of the fossil gas projects, citing violations of environmental laws.

Batangas fishers, Protect VIP (Verde Island Passage), and the Center for Energy, Environment, and Development on Friday filed separate complaints against San Miguel Corporation subsidiary Excellent Energy Resources Inc. (SMC-EERI) and Linseed Field Corporation with Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Company (AG&P-Linseed) before the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau.

AG&P-Linseed is building an LNG import terminal facility in Batangas City, while SMC-EERI is constructing a 1.75 GW LNG power plant in the same vicinity. Both projects threaten to put the marine life-rich VIP at further risk and affect the livelihood of communities who depend on it.

The complainants asked the DENR to suspend or cancel the Environmental Compliance Certificate granted to SMC-EERI and AG&P Linseed, and issue a cease and desist order against the two companies to stop the operations of their projects.

They cited the following violations:

  • The companies’ continued construction despite their failure to secure coconut tree-cutting permits from the Philippine Coconut Authority
  • Failure to secure tree-cutting permits from DENR
  • Failure to secure a land conversion order from the Department of Agrarian Reform

DAR issued a cease and desist order against SMC-EERI and AG&P-Linseed on Aug. 8, 2022.

“In their quest to bring their LNG facilities online, we are highly concerned about how SMC-EERI and AG&P-Linseed treat rules, regulations, and laws concerning environmental protection. We fear that such an attitude will be carried over to the detriment of the VIP if ever the facilities start operating,” said Fr. Edwin Gariguez, lead convenor of Protect VIP.

Philstar.com reached out to SMC-EERI and AG&P-Linseed, but the firms have yet to respond to our queries.

Epicenter of gas expansion

Batangas is the epicenter of the country’s LNG expansion. According to CEED, 15 LNG projects are underway or are being proposed.

In his first State of the Nation Address, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said that increasing the use of renewable energy sources is at the top of the government’s climate agenda. But in the same speech, he also spoke about the need to adopt nuclear and develop fossil gas.

Natural gas has been pitched as a “bridge fuel” that can help the shift to a low-carbon economy. Climate and energy campaigners, however, stress that fossil gas produces potent greenhouse gas methane, and impedes the transition to renewable energy.

“With Filipinos reeling from sky high power prices, environmental degradation, and worsening climate impacts, we have no use for empty promises. What we should be getting from the government are concrete plans to phase out fossil fuels and phase in a just renewable energy transition,” CEED executive director Avril De Torres told Philstar.com.


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