Environmental groups vow to fight new environment bill

Civil society groups have vowed to gather in front of Government House next month if the junta passes a new environmental law.

On 14 November 2017, representatives of People’s Network for Sustainable Development gathered at the Office of the Public Sector Development Commission in Bangkok.

They demanded a halt to the bill to revise the Enhancement and Conservation of National Environmental Quality Act of 1992.

The bill is now under the consideration of the Council of State. It will be sent back to the National Legislative Assembly and the cabinet and could be passed within 240 days.

According to the group, the bill has many shortcomings, especially as regards Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and Environmental Health Impact Assessments.  There was no public participation in the drafting of the bill.

“When an EIA is approved, it leads to the construction of large development projects, but locals are always excluded from participating,” said Lertsak Kamkongsak, a group representative.

The group added that they have held two public forums to gather opinions about the bill and submitted the recommendations to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, but these have been ignored up to now.

According to Supaporn Malailoy from the EnLaw Foundation, the bill also fails to ensure transparency in state projects as it does not require the authorities to disclose information about pollution regulations.

The group stated that the government must to take into account public participation in the drafting of the law, as required under Article 77 of the Constitution.

They vowed to gather at the Government House on 6 December if the government ignores their demand.

Representatives of People’s Network for Sustainable Development gathered at the Office of the Public Sector Development Commission in Bangkok on 14 November 2017