EGAT held a public hearing to review the Environmental Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) of the Thepa Power Plant Project and the Deep Sea Port Project in Thepha District, Songkhla Province. The procedure followed the steps required by law and did not block commenting. EGAT will take the different opinions into consideration.

          Mr. Saharath Boonpotipukdee, EGAT’s Deputy Governor - Corporate Social Affairs, as EGAT’s spokesperson explained the details of the third public hearing to review the EHIA of the Thepa Power Plant Project and the Deep Sea Port Project in Thepha District, Songkhla Province during July 27-28, 2015. EGAT had followed regulations and gave facilitation to the public and stakeholders to attend the meeting and state their opinions according to the regulation and intention of the law. EGAT did not block out anyone and did not give payment to individuals to come to the public hearing or to support the project. As for supporting the transportation cost, 500 baht per pickup truck, the consulting company of the EHIA did as agreed upon with the community leaders to facilitate different villages, particularly for districts which were far away from the venue. Pickup trucks were prepared so people could travel together, 8-10 people per pickup truck. The receipts had to be provided as proof for car rent and gas money for a round trip, per pickup truck, per day. Furthermore, the cloth bags given after registering included only documents of the EHIA, water, a snack, and a coupon for lunch.

          Mr. Saharath Boonpotipukdee added, the news of protesters being kept from entering the venue and could not state their opinions, in reality, operational measures issued by the Songkhla Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department stated that in order to prevent accidents and ensure the safety of all parties to express their opinions freely; speakers, signs, or equipment that may be used as weapons were not permitted inside the venue. Everyone was allowed to sign their names and state their opinions. Furthermore, 49 people came to sign their names on the first day, and 51 people came on the second day. There were both supporters and opponents who came to express their concerns and suggestions on all sides. Everyone who signed their name received five minutes to state their opinion according to the rules. EGAT will use the public opinion to improve the operation so the Thepa Power Plant can coexist with the community sustainably.

          Translated from an article published on July 29, 2015.