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Meralco Powergen Corp. (MGen) on Tuesday said it conducted environmental impact assessments in all its power plant projects amid calls by Church leaders in Quezon province for it to stop its proposed coal-fired plant project.

“MGen assures that it conducts full-blown environmental impact studies for all its projects,” the company said in a statement.

“All potential impacts to air, water, land and people have respective management and mitigation plans to address these impacts to international standards and best practices,” MGen added.

The Power for People Coalition (P4P) and the Diocese of Lucena have called for the cancellation of three coal-fired power plant projects proposed by its unit Atimonan One Energy (A1E) and by San Miguel’s SMC Global Power Holdings. 

SMC Global Power is proposing to build two coal power plants with combined capacity of 2,130 megawatts (MW) in Pagbilao to be undertaken by its two subsidiaries Central Luzon Power Corp. and Lumiere Energy Technologies Inc.

A1E, on the other hand, is planning to build a 1,200 MW coal plant in Atimonan.

“The Power for People Coalition stands in solidarity with communities in Quezon in their bid to abandon coal, and we commit to support this through all means available to us. No new coal project must stand in Filipinos' way to clean and affordable energy for all," Gerry Arances, convenor of P4P, said in a statement.

Over 100 members of the clergy including Lucena Bishop Mel Rey Uy, issued a statement to the coal power plants’ proponents and local authorities.

"We call upon these corporations and their power subsidiaries to listen to the cry of the Earth and cancel their plans to set up this dirty, deadly, and costly source of energy. We appeal to the local and national government and their respective agencies to listen to the cry of the people of Quezon and disallow these projects and any further coal plants in our beloved province," the priests wrote in their statement.

With this, MGen said it will continue working with the energy industry, the government, the host communities, and other stakeholders – including the Church – to serve the country’s energy needs while ever mindful of our greater responsibility to society and the planet.

“Meralco PowerGen Corporation (MGen) and its subsidiaries recognize the importance of environmental stewardship and are one with the Church in the fight to address climate change,” it said.

“That is precisely the reason why MGen is pursuing an energy transition plan that involves an environmentally conscious and diversified power generation portfolio that will utilize high efficiency, low emissions (HELE) technology, which will be used for Atimonan project; and renewable energy (RE) sources,” it added.

The company said the global health crisis brought by the COVID-19 underscores the need to ensure that the country has enough power to support the fight against the pandemic and the recovery efforts thereafter. 

“Large-scale and reliable baseload capacity will always be fundamental to the country, and especially now when unprecedented health challenges need to be urgently addressed to protect the Filipino people,” MGen said.

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