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Waist Deep in the Bid Muddy

Bali Toll Way Builders Reject Claims by Lawmakers and Environmentalists, Insisting Care is Being Taken to Protect Coastal Mangrove Areas

(8/5/2012) Beritabali.com reports that the Provincial House of Representatives for Bali (DPRD-Bali) and the Bali Chapter of Friends of the Earth (WALHI) are both calling for a halt to the construction of the Benoa-Ngurah Rai-Nusa Dua toll way in order to allow a reevaluation of excavations being done in the protected mangrove forest to facilitate the erection of the 8 kilometer long suspended highway.

The DPRD-Bali claims the excavations being done in connection with the highway violate an agreement to protect the ecosystem of the surrounding mangrove forest.

The secretary of Commission III of the DPRD-Bali, I Gusti Made Suryanta Putra, says the toll way project must stop excavating the wetlands of the mangrove forest. Such excavations, he argues, violates initial agreements made by the project manager and threaten local shorelines due to resulting alterations to tidal flows.

The Bali chapter of Friends of the Earth (WAHLI) is reported to be similarly urging a temporary halt to the toll way project  in order to permit an environmental audit be undertaken on the highway project. WAHLI claims that, based on their observations, the excavations surrounding the elevated highway project are casing damage to the local environment.

The deputy director of WAHLI in Bali, Suryadi Darmoko, said the method of construction excavating wetland and use of limestone is in violation of the initial agreement with the project developers

Officials from Jasa Marga Bali, who are building the toll way, answer the charges leveled by legislators and environmentalists saying that any excavations surrounding the erection of supporting pylons are only temporary in nature and that the mangrove forest will be returned to its natural state once construction is completed. Developers insist that they have a strong commitment to preserving environment, citing the planting of thousands of mangrove trees by the company as just part of their strong commitment to environmental sustainability.