Serang, February 17, 2021 – Wahana Lingkungan Hidup (WALHI) withdrew their lawsuit on the environmental permit for the construction of Jawa 9 and 10 coal-fired power plant (CPP) because the object of the lawsuit had been changed. The Banten governor acknowledged the change in environmental permits but refused to disclose it in court. In this case, the Serang Administrative Court judge also did not encourage the defendant to open the newest environmental permit even though it had the authority to do so.

The withdrawal of the lawsuit was filed by the plaintiff’s attorney at trial on January 27, 2021. There are at least three main reasons for the withdrawal of the lawsuit with Case No.51 / G / LH / 2020 / PTUN.SRG:

Whereas in the trial process there was an amendment to the TUN Decree on the object of the lawsuit, namely the Decree of the Head of the Banten Province One-Stop Investment and Integrated Service No. 570/2 / ILH.DPMPTSP / III / 2017 concerning the Granting of Environmental Permit to PT. Indonesia Power for the Construction Jawa 9 and 10 CPP became an Environmental Permit Decree issued in 2019.

This was proven in the trial based on the statement of the Defendant’s attorney, because the Object of the Lawsuit has been changed, the Object of the Lawsuit is no longer legally binding, resulting in the case no longer relevant to proceed.

The Plaintiff tried to obtain the latest environmental permit amendments by submitting a request for public information to the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM RI) on December 21, 2020. However, BKPM RI stated that the information requested was exempt information so that until this press release was disseminated, the Plaintiffs have not received the latest environmental permit.

This incident illustrates that information disclosure and transparency in Indonesia is still a long way from being perfect. Ronald Siahaan, the Plaintiff’s attorney expressed his concern over the trial process led by Chief Judge Henriette S Putuhena SH MH, and Member Judges Eri Elfi Ritonga SH MH and M Ikbar Andi Endang.

“We are concerned and disappointed over the worsening environmental information disclosure in our country. The public cannot obtain information on environmental permits, even though the documents are included as public information, because it is a decree that must be announced to the public and in the process of making it requires public participation”.

Apart from highlighting the poor aspect of public information disclosure, the Plaintiff’s Legal Team also highlighted the performance of the Serang PTUN judge as case examiner, because during the trial process, the court did not present any related parties in the lawsuit, namely PT. Indo Raya Tenaga, which is the special purpose vehicle for Jawa 9-10 coal-fired power plant..

“In the trial, the Panel of Judges promised to present PT. Indo Raya Tenaga in the trial process, as the entity holding the new environmental permit due to a change in ownership of the activity / business from the previous one held by PT. Indonesia Power,” said Karsidi, the Legal Counsel for the Plaintiff.

With regard to this revocation, WALHI does not rule out to submit a lawsuit for public information disputes regarding the latest environmental permit if these public documents are continuously covered by the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM RI). Moreover, this document is an important document that becomes the basis for community reference in monitoring the development practices that happen.

WALHI, in this case, will continue to fight for the termination of the Jawa 9 and 10 CPP through legal action when the latest environmental permit is accessible. Because the existence of Jawa 9 and 10 CPP will have a serious impact on public health problems and a decrease in environmental quality, especially in the Banten region. (*)