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Thai junta puts coal-fired power plant plan on hold
February 20, 2017 / 12:50 AM / 7 months ago

Thai junta puts coal-fired power plant plan on hold

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha speaks during an announcement the junta's two year accomplishments at Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand’s military government has put on hold plans for a coal-fired power plant in a region known for its pristine tourist beaches after protests by residents and activists, Thai media said on Monday.

The delay to the plant while an Environmental and Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) is carried out marked a rare decision by the junta to bow to protesters, who have largely been silenced since a 2014 coup.

The 800-megawatt power plant in Krabi had been given the go-ahead on Friday, with construction set to begin as early as next year.

However, after the brief detention of five protest leaders at the weekend, the government said it had understood their worries over a lack of public participation in studies on the impact the plant would have.

“We informed the prime minister and he ordered the entire EHIA process to be improved and the public participation to be reset,” government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd was quoted as saying in The Nation newspaper.

The protesters had welcomed the news, the Nation and other publications said.

Reporting by Matthew Tostevin; Editing by Paul Tait

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