Clear Forests First, EIA Later?
Law Yao Hua, Science and Environmental Journalist, and Editor, Macaranga
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According to a recent report in Macaranga, plantation company AA Sawit Sdn Bhd has just submitted an environmental impact assessment (EIA) report to get federal approval for its new plantations in Johor. However, the development on the site had already begun two years ago, with satellite images showing that between 2020—2021, more than 600 ha of forests on the 3,775 ha site in Endau, northeast Johor, were cleared. Why did the state and local authorities allow logging to commence without an EIA, which is clearly against regulations stipulated in the Environmental Quality Act 1974? Has the development already caused negative impacts to the wildlife and environment in the area? We find out from science and environmental journalist, Law Yao Hua, an editor at Macaranga, who investigated this story in collaboration with the Pulitzer Center’s Rainforest Investigations Network.
*After this interview was recorded, one of the existing plantations run by the Johor Farmers’ Organisation Endau, or PPK Endau (Pertubuhan Peladang Kawasan Endau) responded to Macaranga, saying that it has had no issues related to river pollution and elephants since it began operations there in 1998 until 2020. But it points to new oil palm projects as the cause for recent elephant problems.
Image credit: Law Yao Hua
Produced by: Juliet Jacobs
Presented by: Juliet Jacobs
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Tags: rainforest investigations network, pulitzer center, AA Sawit, endau, the bigger picture, earth matters, macaranga, eia, environmental impact assessment, palm oil, forest degazettement, department of environment malaysia, human-wildlife conflict, johor,