Occidental Mindoro passes ordinance banning coal-fired power plants
In a move to protect the environment, the Occidental Mindoro Provincial Board, presided by Vice Gov. Peter Alfaro, approved last Dec. 5 an ordinance banning coal-fired power plants.
According to a statement issued by the provincial government, the board said that they were choosing clean air and growth instead of “suffering in the near future.”
“World powered by natural gas would be healthier than a world powered by coal, but healthier still would be a world powered by renewables,” the ordinance said. “The development of cleaner fuels requires taking serious measures to reduce the severity of its urban air quality issues and considerations on the importance of transitioning to renewable sources of energy.”
Under the ordinance, the provincial government would ban the installation of any coal-power plant in Occidental Mindoro and would also regulate fossil fuels.
A council, to be chaired by Eduardo B. Gadiano, will also formulate measures encouraging a renewable energy program.
Mayors and businessmen in the province and representatives from the industrial sector and government agencies — among them the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of the Interior and Local Government — will serve as council members.
Citing the October 2018 issue of The Environmental Magazine, the provincial government said coal was the “largest emitter among primary electricity generation sources.”
“Of all energy resources, coal is one of the most injurious to the environment and health. Further, coal by-products cause a lot of pollution, which contributes to global warming and climate change,” the province said.
The ordinance said that the Renewable Energy (RE) Act of 2008 encourages the utilization of renewable energy sources to reduce harmful emissions in a move to protect both the environment and the public’s health.
Aside from Occidental Mindoro, several other provinces — such as Guimaras, Masbate, Ilocos Norte, Negros Oriental, Bohol and Sorsogon — have also banned coal-powered energy projects.
“The Provincial Government of Occidental Mindoro shall continue to pursue clean and renewable energy projects; promote renewable energy programs in the province for the sustainable protection of wildlife and biodiversity where the island Mindoro Island harbors one of the world’s unique assemblage of endemic and threatened species of fauna, and to protect children and other vulnerable subpopulations from exposure to certain environmental pollutants,” the provincial government said.