NAIROBI, 20 April 2018
Hearings will resume from 23 to 25 April for the petition filed by Save Lamu to oppose the construction of the proposed Lamu Coal power plant. The community organization filed a petition in November 2016 with the National Environment Tribunal (NET). Save Lamu challenged the decision by the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) to award Amu Power an environmental license for the establishment and operation of a 1,050 MW coal-fired power plant in Lamu County.
The hearings began in May 2017. Experts and local community members have testified on the potential environmental impacts, land issues, economic analysis of the project, and other key evidence. Witnesses have included former ERC Chair Hindpal Jabbal Singh, NEMA registered expert Dr David Obura, energy and pollution expert Lauri Myllyvirta, scientist Mark Chernaik, economist and policy analyst Ernest G. Niem, local community members from Lamu.
In the upcoming hearings, witnesses will testify on the importance and the impacts of the proposed plant to mangroves, marine life and fisher folk and the tourism sector. Two experts on climate change and community witnesses will testify on how the tourism, fishing and farming sectors stands to be affected by the proposed power plant.
Some of the witnesses were scheduled to testify last year, but were prevented from doing so when the NET postponed hearings for unexplained reasons and with no advance notice prior to the hearing dates. Local community group, Save Lamu incurred losses in airline tickets, accommodation bookings, and other travel costs due to several hearing cancellations.
The NET hearings are open to the public and media. The hearings will take place at the Reinsurance Plaza (along Aga Khan Walk and Taifa Road) Nairobi.
These hearings are not to be confused with the case filed by activist Okiya Omtatah that was recently dismissed on jurisdictional grounds by the High Court in Mombasa. Omtatah’s petition challenged construction of the multi-trillion-shilling Lamu coal power plant. The stay orders, issued by NET stopping any activities to establish the proposed coal power plant, remain in place.
Save Lamu is a member of the deCOALonize campaign, which consists of over 25 national and international partners under a coalition to campaign for alternatives to coal and promote clean energy in Kenya.