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Rize court revokes approval for plant in Turkey's Black Sea region

Istanbul - Daily News with Radikal | 8/21/2010 12:00:00 AM |

A court in Rize revoked the Environmental Affect Evaluation, or ÇED, decision of the Environment and Forestry Ministry for a regulator and hydroelectric plant in İkizdere Valley.

A court in Rize revoked the Environmental Affect Evaluation, or ÇED, decision of the Environment and Forestry Ministry for a regulator and hydroelectric plant in İkizdere Valley. The court accused the ministry of preparing ÇED reports for the Dereköy Regulator and Demirkapı Hydroelectric Plant as merely a ‘formality.’

The decision of the court said the ÇED report prepared for the facilities are “surprisingly similar” to other reports prepared for hydroelectric plants being built in the area. The court said the ÇED report is prepared as a formality to get the project started as soon as possible. BESS Electricity, the project owner, was asked to only partially complete its environmental responsibilities.

According to the expert report that helped the court come to the decision, the project lacks a plan for a basin even though there are more than gravel and sand pits to be placed on the creek. Each building of the project was evaluated on its own for environmental affects without considering the results as a whole. There is a lack of storage areas to stock the rubble to be caused by the construction as well and one of the mentioned depots is inside the bed of the creek while the other is owned by the Highways Directorate.

“İyidere Stream (Kabahor Creek) and its neighborhood is surrounded with untouched forests, the number of trees that will be cut is not realistic, the tests that are done on the water creatures do not reflecting reality, there are major differences on the fish fauna, amount of water is not enough, and taking into account that a classical ÇED approach will cause irreversible damages in the region, these areas should be examined whether it is natural protected area or has nature park characters”, the decision said.

Speaking about the decision of Rice court, Ömer Şan, representative of Brotherhood of Creeks Platform, said this decision would be as a manifesto in our archives as hydroelectric power plants are giving irreversible damages to our natural habitat.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has opened the Cevizli Hydroelectric Plant in the same valley on Aug. 11, stating Turkey should build more dams and hydroelectric plants to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign energy. Erdoğan said Turkey's energy demand had peaked with the rise of both manufacturing and consumption in the country.

Alluding to dam projects, the prime minister has said his government paid utmost attention to not harming nature and the environment while producing energy.

Turkey's annual hydroelectricity production was 51 billion kWh, Erdoğan has said, adding that this represented only 36 percent of Turkey's potential production.

Erdoğan has said they aimed to boost the annual production up to 82 billion KWH, thus realizing 90 percent of Turkey's potential. However, the judicial process is ongoing for that facility, too.

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