Friday, February 28, 2014

In a week Riau hotspots notches 1605 as 474 found in pulp concessions

The second week of month showed the most fire hotspots found in Riau province since fires and haze returned from January. There are total 1605 hotspots detected in Riau by Eyes on the Forest based on NASA Modis Fire monitoring in period of 13-19 February. By concessions, pulpwood plantation or officially called industrial timber plantation (HTI) 474 hotspots found which APRIL’s affiliated concessions had 245, while its competitor APP’s with 223 hotspots. Palm oil plantations which had complicated licensing had 310 hotspots where PT Bumi Nusa Reksa Sejati, PT Trisetya Usaha Mandiri, and PT Triomas FDI are three concessions with most hotspots found in the week. While, HPH selective logging concessions added to both areas, there are 796 hotspots inside all concessions, meaning 49 percent of total Riau 1605, Eyes on the Forest learned.

Bengkalis district as hotspots analysis in the previous weeks showed, still ranked the area in Riau with most hotspots detected with total 717 in the week when on 14 February recorded 611 hotspots.

In pulpwood suppliers, PT Rokan Rimba Lestari concession, an APRIL affiliated company, showed constant appearance of hotspots distribution. Some suppliers that detected with many hotspots are PT Arara Abadi - Siak (APP) with 18 hotspots on 18 February; On 16 February there are 135 hotspots inside HTI concessions, where PT RRL with 26, PT Sumatera Riang Lestari block 4 (Rupat, APRIL) 13, PT SRL block 5 with 17 and PT Suntara Gaja Pati (SGP, APP) with 17 hotspots. On 14 February, PT RAPP Pelalawan (APRIL) had 9 hotspots, PT RAPP Pulau Padang 9, and PT RAPP Sungai Kampar 3.

In every time forest fires and haze blanket Riau province, several companies has always become the places where hotspots detected by satellite.

On Wednesday, at least 22 flights delayed in Pekanbaru’s airport, which failed the visits of officials, senator, and politicians to attend the ceremony of newly installed Riau Governor, Anas Makmun. Thousands of schoolchildren are told to stay home by the local government this week due to worsening air quality by escalated haze.

A Malaysia-investment palm oil company, PT Adei Plantation, is tried in Pekanbaru District Court over the charge of setting fires in June-July 2013, while other 7 palm oil and pulpwood suppliers named suspects and in line to be prosecuted.v

Thursday, February 13, 2014

APRIL supplier tried for environmental damage loss

A civil code trial on alleged pollution and environmental damage that involved one supplier of Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) belonging to tycoon Sukanto Tanoto’s Royal Golden Eagle group took place at the Pekanbaru Court in January, media reported.

The prosecutors sued PT Merbau Pelalawan Lestari, the APRIL’s supplier, with  two logging losses which inflicted to the State deficit of Rp 16 trillion during 2004, 2005, and 2006 in Pelalawan district, and reported recently.

On 26 September 2013, the Ministry of Environment filed a lawsuit to the company for alleged unlawful act of PT Merbau Pelalawan Lestari that causes pollution and environmental destruction by clearing natural forest inside and outside IUPHHK-HT licensed and RKT workplan areas.

PT Merbau Pelalawan Lestari committed land clearing outside the area logging license (IUPHHKHT) of 1,8732 that causes Rp 4trillion loss minimum. In addition, the company is also alleged to have cut trees inside the area of bussiness that is against the regulation of Ministry of Forestry.

It is prohibited to conduct natural forest clearing inside the industrial plantation areas, except for the development of infrastructure and facilities with a maximum area of one percent, not to mention the logging of Ramin trees—one of the protected plants. The total loss due to the environmental destruction inside IUPHHKHT area of 5,590 hectares is at least Rp 12 trillion.

In addition to environmental destruction, in the previous trial also revealed that some APRIL suppliers involved in corruption cases of government officials in the province of Riau forestry sector to provide an alleged bribery money of Rp 250 million related to issuing forest clearing permit in Pelalawan.

The allegations on PT Merbau Pelalawan Lestari’s illegal logging, environmental destruction and corruption along with 15 other companies were revealed in Jikalahari (Riau’s Forest Rescue) and Walhi (Friends of the Earth)’s report in 2006 that reported 37 industrial plantation companies to Riau Police.

Merbau Pelalawan Lestari PT alleged conduct illegal logging, environmental damage and corruption along with 15 other corporations since 2006 revealed over reports Riau Forest Rescue Network (Jikalahari) and Environmental Forum (Walhi) who reported 37 industrial timber plantations company to Riau Police.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Advisory to buyers and investors of APRIL issued

World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) issued an advisory to buyers and investors of Royal Golden Eagle/Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (RGE/APRIL) following announcement by APRIL last week to apply its Sustainable Forest Management Policy.

Last week Jikalahari and Walhi Riau, environmental groups in Riau, blasted the APRIL’s sustainable policy as it was “a trick to destroy the remaining natural forest embedded with their illegal and problematic  permits in Riau province.”

Muslim Rasyid, Jikalahari coordinator, said “This policy is remains the same as HCVF policy which they often break, and it has no significant relation to the forest protection…For example, one of their point of commitment state that they will stop destroying natural forest  after 2019.” Kampar Peninsula  and Pulau Padang area identified as HHCVF based on APRIL assessment, however they continue to convert the forest into  acacia plantation, he said.

In a web advisory issued last week, WWF said it “continues to recommend that companies wait and see before sourcing from and investing in APRIL and their associated business entities, until APRIL/RGE improves the policy and independent 3rd party confirmation that the group has stopped draining peat soils and pulping natural forests with high conservation and high carbon stock values, and that long-standing social issues have been resolved.”

WWF also urges RGE and APRIL to comply with milestones similar to those developed by the Environmental Paper Network released last September.

The advisory says, “APRIL has a long history of making commitments that it has failed to live up to. The company promised several times in the past to be plantation fiber only, each time moving the date years ahead. This most recent announcement pushes the deadline from an original 2009  to 2019.“ WWF, together with local NGOs in the Eyes on the Forest and RPHK coalitions will continue monitoring the company’s operation.

Full advisory can be found here