Home General Court halt plans for the construction of Lamu coal plant

Court halt plans for the construction of Lamu coal plant

by kenya-tribune

The National Environment Tribunal (NET), has halted plans for the construction of country’s first ever coal powered plant near the coastal town of Lamu. 

NET cancelled the licence previously granted to Amu Power, the developer of the controversial Lamu Coal Plant

The five judges of the Tribunal ruled that authorities had failed to do a thorough environmental assessment. They also faulted the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and AMU Power for failing to conduct public participation.

Earlier, campaign group DeCOAlonize had taken NEMA to court, saying it had not taken note of the adverse effects the project would have on farmlands and the local fishing industry.

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Lobbyists in the energy sector from Lamu and Kitui counties had petitioned the government through the Ministry of Energy to reconsider investment in coal power production and instead opt for renewable sources of energy.

Greenpeace Africa and DeCOALonize Campaign Coalition in solidarity with Kenyan Activists and the local community in Lamu and Kitui called on the government to rethink the coal project which they say is economically and ecologically hazardous.

According to Greenpeace Africa, the project was to threaten the livelihoods of Lamu residents and its surrounding areas that depend on the Indian Ocean for their survival.

They claimed that coal mining will destroy the rich tradition of Lamu, the oldest best preserved UNESCO recognised Swahili settlement in East Africa and added the prpject will increase river erosion, noise pollution and lead to health hazards. They further said, it will cause a decrease in the ground water table.

“The project threatens to add havoc to an already deeply distressed global climate system, emit millions of tons of carbon IV oxide for years, hence adding further a major load to an atmosphere that is already saturated with greenhouse gases,” Greenpeace Senior Political Adviser, Fredrick Njehu said.

“We seem to be in a rush to borrow and import old technology while other countries are moving away from it to more renewable sources because of its climatic effect,” Njehu added.

Angry protesters as they presented their petition against construction of a coal fired power plant in Lamu County. Picture by Purity Mumbua.

According to the American Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) report, the deal signed between the Kenyan government and several local and international firms which will play different roles in the acquisition of coal powered energy, the deal is bound to sink the country deeper into debts of at least Sh 900 billion.

Speaking during DeCOALonise protest on 12th June, Center for Human Rights and Civic Education, Representative Daniel Muoti said that the area where the coal plant will be constructed will cause displacement of people from Lamu which will have negative social consequences hence destroying their history.

“We express our solidarity with the two communities on the visible yet ignored disaster Kenya, as a country, is about to plunge into,” Muoti added.

The stakeholders asked the government to consider  the  benefits of investing in renewable sources of energy  which are ; a clean  and healthy environment , increased  employment , powering manufacturing center ,which is part of the big 4 agenda and tripling the number of people connected to the national power grid to reach 60 percent of the population by 2020.

According to Muoti Kenya is endowed with significant renewable energy sources such geothermal solar, wind and tidal, therefore it should aim for important investments in energy than exploration and investment in the unnecessary, expensive, polluting coal fixed power stations.

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