Locals sue first hydroelectric plant construction planned in center of Black Sea town
Arhavi locals are concerned that the latest plant will totally dry up the Kapisre River.Hydroelectric plant (HES) projects that are spreading like fungus across Turkey, particularly in the eastern Black Sea provinces, continue to cause controversy, with locals of Artvin province’s Arhavi resorting to legal action to halt the first such plant planned in the center of the coastal town.
The Environment Ministry gave the go-ahead to the Kavak HES project after approving the positive environmental impact assessment report (ÇED) submitted by the company, but Arhavi locals are concerned that the plant will dry up the Kapisre River.
A new expert report demanded by the administrative court seeing the case has also mentioned serious risks, stressing that eight HES projects had already been built on the same small stream.
Although the report states that the Kavak HES project alone may not damage the ecosystem, it emphasizes that all necessary assessments should be made by taking into account all the hydroelectric plants located on the Kapisre. When the latest project is completed, the waters of the Kapisre will be deviated for five kilometers by tunnels and pipes.
Company accused of cheating
According to experts, the measurements for the first environmental impact assessment report were also not made adequately, a claim that has triggered accusations of manipulation against the company.
“The company cheated by deliberately making the measurements in parts of the river that would not be affected by the project. They got the positive ÇED report by cheating and submitted false data,” said Hasan Sıtkı Özsarınç, from the Arhavi Platform for the Protection of Nature.
Resentment against the project was already accumulated after the company managed to procure a construction permit in the center of Arhavi, despite the fact that legislation did not allow such facilities in urban areas. The permit was eventually granted after the municipality declared half of the neighborhood where the plant is planned to be built as a “special urban development area.”
The project includes a 14-Megawatt electricity production center and a center of power distribution.
HES project suspended in Erzincan
Meanwhile, a HES project in the eastern province of Erzincan was suspended after an administrative court issued a stay of execution.
Locals had seized the court arguing that the Şıhköy river delta where the plant was planned to be built was an important area for endangered species, adding that the construction of the HES would violate international conventions for the protection of nature. They also said the plant would have a major impact for the economy, as stockbreeding is one of the only sources of income in the region.
Locals in Erzincan have filed another application for the recognition of the area, which is also located next to a major fault line, as a protected natural area.