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10 Mar 2017

Daniel Wesangula, in Reuters

Kenya: Activists sue to stop Amu Power's coal plant, say it will exacerbate climate change

"Campaigners look to Kenya court to block coal plant at U.N. World Heritage site"

Environmentalists seeking to halt a 1,000 megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant on Kenya's unspoilt northern coast are pinning their hopes on a court hearing later this month, following its approval by the energy industry regulator. Save Lamu, a local rights group, filed a case in November to block Amu Power Company's energy project, which the campaigners say will adversely impact the fragile ecosystem around Lamu, a United Nations World Heritage Site.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) overruled objections to the plant last month, saying it was satisfied all environmental concerns would be handled adequately. "We are dismayed the energy commission could do this at a time when we have pending court matters with Amu Power," Walid Ahmed, a Lamu activist, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "The whole world is worried about global warming and climate change. It can't be these things do not matter for Lamu."In the Paris climate deal, Kenya promised to cut its carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030."The coal plant may significantly dent this ambition," said Omar Mohamed Elmawi, Save Lamu's national liaison officer.

Save Lamu's case at the National Environment Tribunal will be heard on March 22 and 23, he said...Environmentalists say effluent from the plant will pollute the sea, killing marine life, coral reefs and mangroves that locals depend on.