MAC: Mines and Communities

Kenyan citizens stop coal-fired power station

Published by MAC on 2019-07-05
Source: Global Greengrants (2019-07-04)

The Kenyan state's intention to allow construction of a coal-fired power station, has been quashed, thanks to combined campaigning by a citizen's group, backed by the international non-profiteering body, Global Greengrants.

VICTORY: Plans for Massive Coal Project in Kenya Canceled

Global Greengrants

4 July 2019

On June 26, 2019, a Kenyan tribunal canceled plans to build the country’s
first-ever coal fired power plant, citing environmental and public health
risks.

This immense, hard-fought victory would not have been possible without
years of advocacy and resistance by a strong network of anti-coal activist
groups across the region. One group that has been integral to the
resistance efforts is Save Lamu, a Global Greengrants Fund grantee.

The 1,050 megawatt Chinese-backed power plant would have increased the
country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 700%, according to activists.

Moreover, the megaproject would have significantly damaged the health and
livelihoods of locals in the coastal community of Lamu – a UNESCO world
heritage site and among the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlements
in East Africa.

The tribunal found that the government had breached the law for approving
construction of the project without an environmental impact assessment. It
also found that the government violated the rights of local people,
failing to inform the public of the health risks associated with the
project, which include difficulty breathing, premature death, and acid
rain contamination of food and water sources.

Global Greengrants Fund first awarded $5,000 to Save Lamu in 2012 to
propose an alternative regional Bio-culture Protocol, a legal instrument
used to protect Indigenous Peoples’ natural rights and historical
stewardship over environmental resources.Five years later, in 2017,
Global Greengrants awarded $5,000 to Save Lamu to educate local women on
the negative effects of the Lamu coal project and how to best resist the
project that would violate their rights to a clean and healthy planet.

In 2019, the group received an additional $5,000 to continue these workshops
for women, as well as to monitor and document land rights violations and
plant trees in affected areas.

Matthew Hawi, Administrator of our East Africa, Southern Africa, and Next
Generation Advisory Boards, weighs in on the victory: “The people of Lamu
were criminally uninformed on the detrimental impact of this coal mine and
it was all veiled under the guise of bringing development and jobs to the
locals. Despite receiving threats and being branded as “anti-development”,
Save Lamu never relented.

This victory at the environmental tribunal is a moral boasting victory for
EHRDs in the country and will hearten other activists in their struggles.

Prevention is better than cure and after seeing the impact of coal mines
on communities and the difficulties of reactive campaigns against the
mines, Save Lamu presents the perfect blueprint in a region that is just
discovering hydro-carbons.”

 

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