Eleonora PEW – Academics from a number of campuses have declared their opposition to the construction of an andesite rock quarry at Wadas Village. They are urging Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo to revoke the environmental impact assessment (AMDAL) for the site.
The recommendation was made after a team of academics from the Bogor Institute of Agriculture's Agrarian Study Centre (PSA IPB), the Semarang State University (UNES), the Eleven March University (UNS) and the Gajah Mada University (UGM) conducted a dissection of the AMDAL for the Bener Dam construction in Purworejo, Central Java. Aside from monitoring the situation on the ground at Wadas Village, the team also listened to testimonies from Wadas residents.
Ecological politics expert Soeryo Adiwibowo from the IPB said that the AMDAL for the construction of the Bener Dam has many weaknesses and combining two activities (the dam and the andesite rock quarry) into one AMDAL can be done but it must separate the impacts of the two activities.
"The aim being so that the dynamics of the potential impacts can be depicted specifically in accordance with the area of activity", he said in a written release on Thursday February 17.
The composition of the AMDAL also shows that the AMDAL document drafted to legitimise the Bener Dam construction cannot be used as a reference for decision making.
"Thus, the environmental permit issued by the Central Java governor is not valid academically", he said.
Several gropes including the Concerned Academics for Wadas, the Caucus for Academic Freedom (KIKA), the Yogyakarta Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) and the Yogyakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH), the UGM Corruption Study Centre (Pukat UGM), the IPB Agrarian Study Centre and the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) have conveyed a number of findings and recommendations in relation to the andesite quarry and the Bener Dam at Wades village.
"The findings of the Bener Dam environmental impact analysis document are invalid, both in material as well as formal tars", read a written release.
In formal terms, the team found the the public consultation was not held using a mechanism which involved both directions as it should have and found one-sided claims of agreement by residents because the AMDAL ignored opposition from Wadas residents to the andesite rock quarry.
In addition to this, the risk analysis was not carried out comprehensively so that the potential for serious impacts, both physical as well as psychological, and triggering other natural disasters, were not clear. The researchers did not carry out an in depth analysis, just a cursory one.
Aside from this, there were efforts to coerce residents by involving security forces and structurally through village and sub-district officials. The team of academics also asserted that the construction of the dam and the rock quarry were separate activities according to Law Number 3/2020.
In its material aspect meanwhile, it was found that the historical relationship of the Wadas community with its environment, as well its values, knowledge and religiosity, was not used as a consideration in the AMDAL.
The AMDAL document also failed to pay serious attention to the impact of mining activities which could potentially expropriate the living space of Wadas women and children and their right to the protection of ownership and access which would have huge potential to have an unjust impact on cross generations.
The following are the recommendations from the team of academics on the planned andesite rock quarry at Wadas Village:
- That the Central Java governor revoke the AMDAL environmental permit because the AMDAL document was drafted using an invalid method so that it is not suitable as a reference for policy or decision making.
- That they reject the andesite rock quarry at Wadas Village.
- That changes be made to the character of government development which tends to pursue economic growth and ignore people and the environment, so that similar projects must be reviewed.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Akademisi IPB hingga UGM Tolak Penambangan di Desa Wadas, Minta Ganjar Cabut Izin Amdal".]