Last update 10/18/2011 8:00:00 AM (GMT+7)

Today’s mistake to harm the future
VietNamNet Bridge – Dong Nai 6 and 6A hydro-power projects are located completely in the Cat Tien National Park and they are not significant works of the country. Why do the investor and local authorities try to implement them at any cost, ignoring rules on state management.

Dong Nai 6 and 6A hydro-power projects: Where is the truth?
Dong Nai 6 and 6A hydro-power projects: Unfair game

Cat Tien National Park.

“Yes-man” scientists?

Firstly, Nguyen Viet Dung, deputy director of the Human and Nature Centre (Vietnam Association of Science and Technology), said that the reports on environmental impacts of the two above projects, compiled by the Institute for Irrigation Planning of Southern Region were copied.

Ass. Prof, Dr. Nguyen Dinh Hoe, from the Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment (Vacne), told Dan Viet newspaper on June 29, that 137 hectares of Cat Tien National Parks is the area for building the plant only. The forest area that will be destroyed by floods and other reasons caused by these projects are vast. Hoe emphasized that it takes hundreds of years to have the diverse vegetation cover equal to the Cat Tien forest.

In this interview, Hoe questioned “Several months ago, Dong Nai and HCM City authorities proposed to cut down several hydro-power plants in the hydro-power development plan, but why are the Dong Nai 6 and 6A projects still underway?”

He asked investors of the two projects to make their reports public on environmental impacts on the entire Dong Nai River.

Based on Hoe’s opinions, people would think that he did not agree or even protest the construction of Dong Nai 6 and 6A power plants on the Dong Nai River, which is scheduled to be the home to 20 hydro-power plants.

However, at a seminar on environmental issues related to Dong Nai 6 and 6A projects on September 30 in Hanoi, the attitude of scientists from Vacne, including Dr. Nguyen Dinh Hoe changed completely.

Vacne confirmed that environmental impacts from the two above projects are “not serious” as some people thought.

In his speech, Hoe proved to be optimistic and said that worries over the two projects are excessive. He said that the lost of 137 hectares of forest in Cat Tien will only cause a little reduction of food for animals in Cat Loc area.

After analyzing the gain and lost of these projects, Hoe confirmed: “The two projects are worthy for the exchange, but with condition. The condition is that the investor needs to seek measure to diminish the impacts and improve the quality of its report on environmental impacts”. However, Hoe did not point out any specific solution.

At the end of his speech, Hoe re-affirmed: “The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s proposal on changing Cat Tien National Park development plan to build Dong Nai 6 and 6A hydro-power plants is accurate.”

He added that he would ask Vacne to petition competent agencies to permit the investor to continue the projects.

Within only three months, they did not pay a visit to Cat Tien National Park, but scientists from Vacne, who are critics of Dong Nai 6 and 6A projects, have changed their opinion unexpectedly. The public, thus, suspects the objectivity of project evaluation task.

Not considering whether Vacne’s opinion is right or wrong but this is not the style of true scientists.

Dr. Dao Trong Tu, director of the Centre for Sustainable Water Resource Development and Adaptation to Climate Change, said Vacne is playing a wrong role. “I want to question, is it the function of Vacne to ask permission of building hydro-power plants for Dong Nai province? Is Vacne on behalf of the investor?”

In an interview with Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper about this issue, Dr. Hoe was very anxious when some newspapers and scientists are trying to make clear the impacts of these projects on the environment.

He said: “Dong Nai authorities asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade to build five hydro-power plants with similar capacity of Dong Nai 6A project and these plants are located in the Cat Tien National Park, but nobody protests them. Why they nose about Dong Nai 6 and 6A project.”

What’s behind it?

Reviewing the happenings around the two projects, it seems to have a latent canvas to build these plants at any cost.

From copied reports on environmental impacts to the investor’s overall funding for surveys and a recent cursory seminar… all aim to implement these projects, ignoring environmental warnings from scientists.

The public question whether some scientists’ support to these projects are fair and scientifically considered?

Another question is besides the goal of building power plants to supply electricity to the national grid, are there any special benefits from these projects?

Talking to Saigon Tiep Thi newspaper on July 22, Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang said: “The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s consistent viewpoint is hydro-power projects are not allowed to harm specialized forest and national forest. These kinds of forest are the country’s assets which play important role in protecting the environment. Only works that are important for the country’s interests and are approved by the National Assembly are under consideration.”

Dong Nai 6 and 6A hydro-power projects are located completely in the Cat Tien National Park and they are not significant works of the country. Why do the investor and local authorities try to implement them at any cost, ignoring rules on state management.

Development and environmental protection must go together. We cannot exchange environmental impacts for interests of a specific group.

Tran Minh Quan