Pattaya Daily News

12 July 2010 :: 10:07:31 am 30503

Abhisit Tackles Environmental Concerns at Map Ta Phut

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Sunday addressed concerns regarding investment in Thailand. His statement came after recent findings by an investigative panel found that 18 categories of industrial projects in Thailand are considered harmful to the environment.
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Bangkok, the 11th of July 2010: Addressing the nation on his weekly television and radio broadcast, Mr. Abhisit stated that the National Environment Committee (NEC) would gather details regarding the environmental report and hold an extraordinary meeting within 2 months to help resolve concerns.

“The issue is not yet settled,” he said in relation to the environmental issues outline by a four party investigative panel in June. Headed by former Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun, the panel revealed 18 projects at the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate in Rayong that it considered potentially hazardous to the environment. A plan to resolve the problem was also devised by the panel.

The Abhisit government formed the investigative panel following the Administrative Courts decision to halt 76 projects at the Map Ta Phut site because they did not meet environmental and health rules detailed under Article 67 of the Constitution. Some projects later won appeals in relation to the halt on constructions, while the rest have had to alter procedures in order to comply with environmental laws.

Meanwhile, the Energy Ministry has moved to assure the public and visiting tourists that the ongoing oil/natural gas exploration projects in the Gulf of Thailand are safe and poses no negative impact on the marine environment. The press release comes after several tourism operators on Koh Samui, off the coast of Surat Thani in southern Thailand, revealed concerns regarding continued drilling of the Gulf.

Mineral Fuels Department Director-General Kurujit Nakhonthap stated that exploration projects have been ongoing in the Gulf of Thailand for over 35 years without incident. Adding that further exploration was needed in order to further supplement the supply of natural gas from within Thailand, which only constitutes approximately 40% of total consumption.

Reportedly, local tourism operators were increasingly worried of a repeat of the incident currently ongoing in the Gulf of Mexico where over 60,000 barrels of oil are being leaked into the sea each day. Mr. Nakhonthap explained that the two regions were inherently different with exploration of the Gulf of Thailand being for natural gas as opposed to crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

Also stating that exploration off the coast of America was being carried out in a high-pressure environment at depths of 1.6km as opposed to the Thai operation, which was at merely 30-80 meter depths and involved various forms of pressure preventions and safety valves. Therefore, “chances for oil leaks in the Gulf of Thailand are very slim, unlike the Gulf of Mexico,” he said.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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