In Indonesia, local environmental groups are beside themselves, appalled at a proposed energy project that would tear the heart out of the world-famous Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra -- a World Heritage Site and the last place on Earth where tigers, rhinos, elephants, and orangutans still live together.
Peril in the Rainforest
In northern Sumatra, a consortium of local environmental groups has just issued a press release calling on Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry and Environment to immediately reject the scheme.
A Turkish Corporation, Hitay Holdings, proposes to develop a major geothermal plant in the core of the World Heritage site, along with roads and other infrastructure needed for the project. In the past such roads and developments have led to major increases in deforestation and illegal poaching, mining, and logging.
The consortium has decried a rapid environmental assessment that involved only quick and superficial visits to the site. The assessment was funded by the Turkish corporation promoting the project, which alone makes the findings highly questionable, the conservationists say.
Beyond this, scientists and conservationists have identified gaping holes and inconsistencies in the report, which is generally supportive of the geothermal project. These problems have been described both in the press release and in a detailed report to the Indonesian Forestry and Environment Minister, the Honorable Siti Nurbaya.