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Chiang Mai Villagers Protest Coal Mine Plan, As Court to Reject Outdated EIA

Residents of five Chiang Mai villages protested in Bangkok against a coal mine project and asked the Administrative Court to reject its environmental impact assessment report.
Residents of five Chiang Mai villages protested in Bangkok against a coal mine project and asked the Administrative Court to reject its environmental impact assessment report.

Residents of five Chiang Mai villages protested in Bangkok against a coal mine project and asked the Administrative Court to reject its environmental impact assessment report.

The Omkoi District villagers marched to the court on Monday to petition it to reject the EIA that they claimed lacked public participation and was outdated because it had been done a decade ago.

In 2019, the residents asked Chiang Mai to look into the issue. As the request was ignored, they showed up at the court today.

Chalermpong Patanasatkul, former deputy mayor for Omkoi Subdistrict, said villagers did not have their say in the EIA and it contained false information, including that about the location of the coal mine which it described as a degraded forest. Actually, he said, the location was a catchment area.

Sumitchai Hatthasan, lawyer of the Center for Protection and Revival of Local Community Rights, said the villagers told the court that the EIA report had been done about a decade ago and there were forged signatures of local people claimed to be the supporters of the project. Those people had been children or illiterate at that time, he said.

The villagers also presented their community health impact assessment report on the project to the court to contest the old EIA, Sumitchai said.