Minister warns about development of small-scale hydropower

Answering the local press on the sidelines of the National Assembly session, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Tran Hong Ha said the principle of his ministry is ‘not to develop small-scale hydropower at any cost’.

Many experts believe that the historic floods in the central region some days ago were the results of climate change. How does the draft of the amended law on environmental protection address the issue?

Minister warns about development of small-scale hydropower

Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Tran Hong Ha

The issues related to climate change, natural disasters and floods are mentioned in many laws. The reason behind recent floods is extreme climate change. All the indicators exceed the indicators of the floods in history.

The natural disasters in the central region are a combination of dangerous weather types caused by the extreme climate.

The draft of the amended law on environmental protection doesn’t mention natural diaster accidents (because they are covered by other laws), but focus on the prevention of the accidents caused by humans, i.e. polluting socio-economic development projects.

After the Rao Trang 3 Hydropower Plant accident, many people have asked to analyze the impacts of hydropower projects. What is the viewpoint of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MONRE) on the issue?

The Ministry of Industry and Trade and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have talked about the issue.

The viewpoint of MONRE is that only the hydropower plants relying on design can satisfy all the requirements. Large hydropower plants now can do well in preventing floods and managing the water to provide water in dry season.

Meanwhile, small-scale hydropower plants cann’t satisfy the requirements. Therefore, when developing hydropower, the safety of every reservoir must be considered in the cumulative impact of the reservoir system.

There are always two sides of a coin and MONRE doesn’t encourage the development of small-scale hydropower at any costs.

 

The 13th National Assembly session discussed and MONRE and relevant ministries have proposed cutting over 400 small hydropower reservoirs. In the future, we will very cautious when building small hydropower plants.

What do you think should we do to prevent extreme weather phenomena?

The draft of the amended law on environmental protection shows comprehensive measures.

First, it’s necessary to control more tightly the reasons caused by humans through waste control.

Second, protecting the natural ecosystem. The natural ecosystem has a great impact on natural disaster prevention. Therefore, people need to live in harmonization and respect nature.

Will the amended law set stricter requirements on environmental impact assessment?

The environment management will be implemented on a scientific basis, depending on the characteristics and scale of the waste.

This means that we will strengthen the management of potential high-risk objects of pollution. We will remove unnecessary administrative procedures for environmentally friendly projects, so as to ensure simple procedures and low observance costs for the projects. 

Hai Nam

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