Baram Dam: Residents want to see EIA, SEIA

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Residents from longhouses affected by the proposed Baram Dam want to see the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Social Environmental Impact Assessment reports before they are approved, reports the Borneo Resources Institute.

Miri – Representative of residents from  longhouses affected directly by the proposed Baram Dam have applied for a copy of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), the Social Environmental Impact Assessment Report or any other reports on studies currently being carried out before they are approved by the relevant agencies or authorities.

In a letter signed by representatives of the residents and concerned citizens and addressed to the Controller of the Sarawak Natural Resources and Environmental Board (NREB), they requested that they should be given an opportunity and sufficient time to verify, study, comment and/or make objections on the EIA, SEIA or any other reports before they are approved and work on the proposed dam can begin.

The letter also states that the group objects against the  commencement of any work including construction of any  access roads to the site of the proposed dam and the extinguishing of their native customary rights (NCR) over their native customary land pending their scrutiny of the reports.

On 22-23 April, a group of concerned residents attended a two-day seminar entitled “Mega Dam projects: Happiness or a disaster?” organised by the Baram Residents Action Committee (JTPB) at Telang Usan Hotel, Miri.

During the seminar, it was clear that all of the residents who attended do not agree to the proposed building of the Baram Dam.

Among the main concerns of the residents is what will happen to their land once the dam is built and water starts inundating their villages. Where are they going to be resettled? How much will the people be burdened by the cost of the dams?

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The residents also do not want a repeat of the Bakun resettlement fiasco; they want this project to be scrapped altogether as there is clearly no justification for it to be built as the energy generated by the 2,400 MW Bakun Dam is more than sufficient for the energy needs of Sarawak for many years to come.

Mark Bujang

Executive Director

Brimas
12 August 2010

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