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Pastika: No, Again, to Geothermal Energy in Bali

Bali Says Local Religious Beliefs Make Geothermal Project at Bedugul Impossible.

(9/13/2010) Bali governor Made Mangku Pastika has restated and underlined Bali's opposition to renewed efforts to seek permission to commence a geothermal energy project in Bali.

Giving his unqualified support to the original 2006 refusal to allow geothermal energy production on the island, the governor sees no reason to now allow the controversial project to go ahead. Quoted by NusaBali on comments made on Tuesday, September 7, 2010, Pastika said, "We remain committed to maintain the earlier refusal (made by a team headed by then governor, Made Beratha). "

When reporters tried to link the geothermal project with the recent approval of "Bali crossing" the access of high voltage power lines to Bali across the straits from Java, Pastika dismissed any linkage. Pastika said the "Bali crossing" agreement addresses the landing of high power lines at Gilimanuk in west Bali while the geothermal project, by boring into the bowels of the island, touches deeply on the island's natural and religious environment.

The governor's stance received support from Bali parliamentarian Wayan Sudirta who was involved in the original 2006 revocation of the geothermal project. He said, then and now, the Balinese Hindus view Bedugul as the "head" of Bali. Referring to his 2006 representations to the then Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Sudirta explained: "I emphasized to the Minister, if your head and hair are grabbed like that (the geothermal project), how would you feel? The Minister couldn't reply. I told him that this problem involved the feelings of the (Bali Hindu) faithful."

He explained how difficult it was for his delegation to originally meet with the Minister in Jakarta in 2006 and garner the support that eventually caused the geothermal project to be halted. He cautioned that if the project somehow now managed to be revitalized, the very heart of the Balinese people would be deeply wounded.