Tripa Peat Swamp Re-Included in the Moratorium

as published in KOMPAS, 22 May 2012

Government Consistency Positively Welcomed by Civil Organisations

Jakarta, KOMPAS – Tripa Peat Swamp in the Aceh’s Nagan Raya District is re-included in the second revision of the moratorium map. The area of 1,605 ha of PT. Kalista Alam intended for oil palm plantation will be protected against any logging or peatland clearing activities.

Deputy of Law Enforcement  of the Presidential Working Unit for Development Supervision and Control (UKP4), Mas Achmad Santosa,  said on Monday (21/5) in Jakarta that all company’s activities within the 1,605 ha area had to be halted. “Besides that, we also proceed with legal lawsuit,” he said.

He explained the currently investigated legal case in details, which is the indication of violation of the Law No. 32/2009 on Environmental Protection and Management in regards to the clearing by burning activity. Then, violation of the Law No. 18/2004 on Plantation, being operating without permit. Violation of the Law No. 5/1990 on Conservation of Biodiversity and its Ecosystem, since the company operates within the Leuser Ecosystem. For information, the Joint Investigators of the Ministry of Environment, the Attorney General and the State Police are now conducting the hearing of witnesses, including those from the company.

Besides criminal lawsuit, the UKP4 recommended that the Ministry of Environment, on behalf of the state, prosecutes the company to pay the damage caused by the destruction of the local ecosystem. The damage is currently being calculated by the Ministry of Environment.

Being asked about possible applied sanctions, the Head of UKP4, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, said that the probability of corruption and state administration delicts would be traced back. “This is still being elaborated. To be cleared, guilty official can be administratively punished and corruption will face criminal charges,” he said.

Positively welcome

Separately, the Executive Director of Greenomics, Elfian Effendi, praised UKP4 for being consistent with the protection of Tripa Peat Swamp against destructive threats caused by palm oil expansion. “The consistency has saved orangutan habitat and the protecting function of Tripa Peat Swamp,” he added.

The case started in August 2011 as the Aceh Governor serving during that time issued a plantation permit for PT Kalista Alam. Although, in May 2011, the particular area in the permit, the 1,605 ha, was included within the areas of the moratorium.

But, under the first revision of the moratorium in November 2011, this particular area was excluded. The permit issued by the Aceh Governor was then filed for administrative court by WALHI. The panel of judges rejected the case and WALHI appealed.

This issue has been smelled by the UKP4 that recommended comprehensive investigation on the case, including onsite investigation. The investigation identified the lack of concession permit and other violations, such as clearing by burning of the peat and expired license.

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About endoftheicons

The Leuser Ecosystem on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia is in grave danger. Local politicians want to allow logging, mining and palm oil plantations in this vulnerable area. Sumatran orangutans, rhinos, elephants and tigers are already hanging on by a thread. They will not survive the destruction of the Leuser Ecosystem.

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