|Malpe Beach, six kilometers to the west of Udupi, Karnataka, India.|
More than 20 years ago, Udupi Power Corporation Ltd received permission to build a 1200 MW coal-fired power plant near the coast of Karnataka, without a public hearing and with an environmental impact assessment (EIA) that placed the plant 100 kilometers from its actual location! The plant began operating in 2010 and poses serious threats to human health and ecology.
Adani Power bought the plant and proposed to double its size. The EIA for adding two new 800 MW coal-fired units contained serious flaws and villagers were not allowed to participate in a public hearing due to strong-arm tactics of the company.
Last week, after long years of struggle, the community rejoiced: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) found that permission for both the original power plant and proposed expansion were granted illegally, and canceled the expansion plans. Finding, however, that the original plant was a fait accompli, the NGT required Adani Power to pay a fine of $750,000 while a Committee of Experts determines how much additional the company should pay according to the Polluter Pays Principle.
Responding to a request for help from ELAW partner Nityanand Jayaraman, ELAW Staff Scientists provided support to the counsel representing the community by highlighting how the EIA for the expansion plan lacked meaningful assessments of long-term impacts of dredging required for pipelines, and loss of marine biota due to impingement and entrainment in the plant's cooling system.
"ELAW's reputation for providing relevant and valuable techno-legal critiques is now well known among the community of public interest environmental lawyers," says Nityanand. "Thanks in part to the inputs from Dr. Mark Chernaik and Dr. Heidi Weiskel, the advocate for the community was able to thwart Adani's plans to disastrously alter the land-use in this sensitive coastal area with its coal-fired power plant."
Coal is a dirty, outdated fuel that threatens community health and destroys the climate. Yet, corporations and governments want to expand coal-fired power plants and build new ones.
Keeping coal in the ground is a key to community health and protecting our climate.
For more information, see:
NGT puts Adani's Udupi Power Corporation Ltd expansion on hold, asks to pay Rs 5 crore as damages
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