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A Suspended Highway

Bali Provincial Official Orders Halt to Excavation of South Baliís Mangrove Forest by Toll Way Builders

(8/24/2012) Radar Bali reports that complaints and street demonstration by the Bali Friends of the Earth (WALHI) have resulted in an order from the provincial government of Bali to halt the excavation of bottom lands in Bali’s southern mangrove forest by PT Jasa Marga Bali – the company constructing the new toll road connection Benoa – Ngurah Rai Airport – Nusa Dua.

The decision to halt any further destruction of the bottom land was announced by WALHI on Wednesday, August 22, 2012.

Efforts by Radar Bali to confirm the order with the provincial government have been unsuccessful. When the newspaper contacted the head of Bali Environmental Agency (BLH), Nyoman Sujaya, he confirmed that the province had reviewed the report of excavation of mangrove forests by PT Jasa Marga. “We have summoned them a short while ago, before the Lebaran holiday. Mr. Wija (2nd Assistant for the province) led the meeting,” Sujaya said.

Sujaya explained that as a result of that meeting, it was determined that the excavation of the mangrove by PT Jasa Marga Bali represented a major error. Such excavation was not mentioned in the environmental impact study submitted before the project commenced. He also denied rumors that the BLH had granted permission for the excavation of bottom land. “We had no idea, the ocean had been damaged. Violation of the environmental impact study have been committed for which we have never given permission,” said Sujaya.

Following that meeting PT Jasa Marga was ordered to stop the excavation, warning that reprimands will be issued if additional excavation is performed.

He said that a new environmental impact study would not need to be carried out, at the latest by September.

Meanwhile the BLH has taken water samples at the project that have proven that pollution levels in the mangrove have increased as the result of the excavation. Those test results have become the basis for the order to end the continuing excavation of bottom lands

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