Sendai Power Station (Sendai PS) who slips through the EIA due to its installed capacity, dishonestly hides the information, and has been ignoring the requests from local residents.
Sendai PS Ignores the Voice of 40 Thousands of Citizens
On March 8th, 2017, Sendai PS had an explanatory meeting after firmly refusing to do so for a good while. Although the notification period was short and the choices of date, time and place were clearly inconsiderate, there were almost 500 participants, even with some standing listeners. The opening was rather chaotic: boos were casted upon the Sendai PS for its attempt to shut media press out after the head speech. After the negotiation with city and prefectural council members, it reluctantly allowed to open to the press. During questions and answers session, its one-sided assertions such as, “The project complies with the law,” and “Communications between the local residents have been conducted via documents,” was noticeable. There was no sign of them “disclosing the information and actively having conversations with local residents” as it is written in the Agreement on Pollution Prevention.
From April to May, the group for protesting the coal-fired power plant at Sendai Port (so called the Anti-Coal Sendai) started the campaign to collect petitions against Sendai PS operation. The number of petitions reached 22,813 within two months (as of July 4th, it reached 39,618). They submitted the petitions to Miyagi Prefectural Governor and Sendai Mayor at the end of May, and sent the report to Sendai PS on June 1st. Sendai PS. However Sendai PS did not listen to the voice from more than twenty thousands of citizens, announced on its website on June 13th the onset of trial run at 8:00 p.m., June 12th. To make a protest against decision of Sendai PS, Anti-Coal Sendai issued a protest statement and Kiko Network, FoE Japan, Greenpeace Japan and other NGOs also posted a joint statement.
Even after these actions, Sendai PS started the electricity generation on July 19th, then threw coals (step forward to practical generation using coals) in on 26th, which led severe criticism from Anti-Coal Sendai and several environmental groups.
New Mayor intends to ask voluntary EIA “Not to make Sendai a place to pile up coal”
It is not just citizens who are angry. Miyagi Prefectural Governor and Sendai Mayor also alarmingly commented on the forceful test run of Sendai PS. They are critical because they made deal with Sendai PS to inform its test run to the prefecture and the city beforehand. Sendai PS objected this argument saying “There are no such deal.” The situation appears to be bogged down. The Mayor who seriously concerns the circumstance of Sendai PS and coal-fired power plant as a whole visited Ministry of the Environment and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and demanded it to regulate at the national level on June 29th. The newly elected Mayor Ms. Kazuko Kori (elected on July 23rd) remarked in answering open questionary letter that she would request Sendai PS to conduct voluntary EIA. Sendai PS apparently faces a headwind.
The commercial operation is scheduled on coming October. Sendai PS will bull through this, presumably. Another construction company, Maeda Corporation, which was once planning to construct coal-fired power plant as same scale as that in Sendai canceled the usage of coal, concerning the global direction surrounding the Paris Agreement. Sendai PS must recognize the urgent necessity of climate change action and abandon the project.
Despite the delinquent attitude of Sendai PS, local residents have continuously taken various actions and made Sendai PS to hold an explanatory meeting. Even additional explanatory meeting was held in June. This resulted in a growing interests and number of media coverage relating this coal-fired plant issues, not only Sendai PS but also Sendai Takamatsu power plant. Of course the citizens would never relax their efforts on pursuit. The battle will continue until the stop of operation, and eventually, the withdrawal of the project itself.