The regional office of the Environmental Management Bureau in Central Luzon ordered SMC Consolidated Power Corp., a unit of conglomerate San Miguel Corp., to stop any activity inside its coal-fired power plant in Limay, Bataan.
The agency said it also directed the nearby Petron Bataan Refinery to “stop from dumping newly-generated bottom ash” in the area while the ash spill incident was being investigated.
The two directives, both dated Jan. 6, 2017, were issued by regional director Lormelyn Claudio of EMB Region 3 based in San Fernando City, Pampanga.
The coal power plant was being blamed by some residents for allegedly causing an ash spill.
“Not true news,” San Miguel president Ramon Ang said Friday, when asked about the Environment Department’s plan to shut down the plant.
Petron’s 180,000 barrel-per-day refinery is located in Limay, Bataan.
“Our ash pond is located within our facility and near our offices. It has the necessary regional and local permits from the [Envirbnment], is surrounded by dikes and regularly watered to prevent dispersion,” Petron said.
Petron said ash from the pond, certified by Environment as non-hazardous, “will be used as raw material for our cement manufacturing plant.”
EMB, a line bureau of the Environment Department, is responsible for the implementation of various environmental laws, rules and regulations, including Presidential Decree No. 1586 or the law establishing the Environmental Impact Assessment System that requires an environmental compliance certificate to ensure that a development project will not cause adverse environmental impacts.
EMB issued a notice of alleged violation to SMCCPC and asked the power firm to explain why the ECC for its Limay facility should not be revoked or cancelled due to the ash spill.
EMB gave SMCCPC seven days from receipt of the notice to explain why it should not be penalized under P.D. 1586 and why its ECC should not be revoked or suspended.
EMB also ordered the company to stop further undertaking any activity while the matters were being investigated.
The bureau also ordered the company to attend the technical conference scheduled Monday at the EMB Region 3 office in Pampanga.
“Failure to attend will qualify you to be considered in default and the case shall be resolved based in evidence on record,”EMB said.
Meanwhile, EMB said the latest order against Petron Bataan Refiner was based on the notice of violation it issued against the oil facility on Dec. 28 when the ash spill in Limay was first reported.
EMB said it was inclined to issue a new order against PBR “considering the most recent reports and information on the alleged skin diseases caused by the dumping of bottom ash at [SMCCPC’s] facility.”
SMCCPC and Petron Corp. are both subsidiaries of San Miguel Corp., one of the country’s most diversified and biggest conglomerates.