Walhi

Save 800 Orang Utan Tapanuli from extinction, Stop Batang Toru Hydropower Project


Press Release Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WALHI) I Friends of the Earth Indonesia

Jakarta, 20.08.2018.Commemorating World Orangutan Day which fell on August 19, 2018 yesterday, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment held an action in front of the Pembangkit Jawa Bali Investment office, a subsidiary of PT. PLN. PJB Investment is a project sponsor and 25% shareholder of PT. North Sumatra Hydro Electric (NSHE) a joint venture between PJB Investment, Fareast Green Energy, PT. Dharma Hydro Nusantara. PT. NSHE will build the Batang Toru hydropower plant with a capacity of 510 MW.

Previously, on August 8, 2018, WALHI North Sumatera had filed a lawsuit against the Batang Toru hydropower environmental permit granted by the Governor of North Sumatera to PT. NSHE. The lawsuit was filed because the Batang Toru hydropower development will have an impact on the Batang Toru ecosystem which is rich in biodiversity and is the last jungle in North Sumatera. If the Batang Toru hydropower project is built, it will destroy the social and economic conditions of the people living in the downstream, especially those who depend on the agriculture, fisheries and water transportation sectors. Rice fields in the riverbank will not be able to be cultivated.

In addition, 800 Orang Utan Tapanuli who were recently found threatened with extinction. This very rare orangutan is only found in the Batang Toru ecosystem but has been divided into 3 populations in the west block (500 to 600 individuals), in the eastern block (160 individuals) and in the Sibual-buali Nature Reserve (less than 30 individuals left) ). The construction of project infrastructure in the form of access roads, Very High Voltage Power Lines and underground tunnels along the 13 km length of the Tapanuli orangutan habitat on the Batang Toru riverbank will have a double impact. First, it will destroy the hope of reconnecting the three populations and secondly, it will eliminate one of its richest habitats with the highest orangutan density, and open access for humans in their last habitat.

Dana Tarigan, Director of WALHI in North Sumatra said ” PJB Investment as a project sponsor and 25% shareholder of PT.NSHE must stop the construction of the Batang Toru hydropower project. Achieving the target of 23% of the renewable energy mix by 2025 does not mean that it must destroy biodiversity-rich ecosystems such as Batang Toru. Large-scale hydropower projects are not the right choice, the government should focus on developing small-scale electricity projects that involve community participation and are environmentally friendly “he concluded.

Not long ago we saw the horrific impact of the collapse of the hydropower dam in Laos, the disaster reminded us that the Batang Toru Ecosystem is located on the edge of the Great Sumatran Fault and in one of the most vulnerable locations in Sumatra.The destruction of the dam due to the earthquake can have fatal consequences for people living downstream. End

Contact Person:

Dana Prima Tarigan, Director of WALHI in North Sumatera: danatarigan@gmail.com 08126344992

Yuyun Harmono, WALHI Climate Justice Campaign Manager: harmono@walhi.or.id 081385072648

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