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Lapindo praised despite mudflow

Unbelievable. What were the government thinking? It really are hurt thousand of Lapindo victims feeling.

The government has hailed gas exploration company PT Lapindo Brantas and several other mining giants for complying with environmental standards set by the government.

The praise came despite Lapindo’s drilling activity in 2006 that allegedly caused a protracted mudflow in the East Java town of Sidoarjo. Three villages have been buried and thousands of families displaced by the mudflow.

Lapindo joined a group of 180 companies that earned a blue rating in this year’s environmental audit results announced Thursday. Other companies included ConocoPhillips Indonesia Ltd., PT Medco EP, PT Pertamina, PT Lippo Cikarang and PT Kawasan Industri Makassar.

Gold mining giant PT Freeport Indonesia, PT Aneka Tambang, PT International Nickel Indonesia and PT Indo Lampung Perkasa fared slightly worse, receiving the minus blue rating for “doing something for environmental management but not reaching the government’s standard”.

The audits were conducted on 516 companies voluntarily taking part in the environmental performance rating program popularly known as Proper.

The program rates companies gold, green, blue, blue minus, red, red minus or black according to their performance in controlling air and water pollution, following environmental impact analyses (Amdal) and implementing corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.

For the first time ever the government presented a gold rating, which went to Bandung-based geothermal firm Magna Nusantara, Ltd. The top award was given for the company’s massive energy saving efforts expected to cut up to 60,000 tons of carbon emissions.

A total of 46 companies won trophies for achieving green status, exceeding environmental standards set by the government. They included PT Holcim Indonesia, PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper Mill, PT Toba Pulp Lestari, Tbk, PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara, PT Chandra Asri, PT Unilever Indonesia, PT Semen Gresik and PT Indah Kiat Pulp and Paper.

State Minister for the Environment Rachmat Witoelar said this year’s Proper reflected better environmental conditions with more companies committed to green operations.

He expressed skepticism, however, that no major company had been given a black label.

“I questioned the Proper auditing team about the validity of the ranking, as some big companies which have come under public scrutiny earned a better ranking,” Rachmat said.

A black ranking was given to 43 companies, 13 of them for the second time in a row. The worst of the worst have no water or air treatment facilities and no Amdal documents.

Rachmat said the government would sue the 13 companies for ignoring environmental regulations.

Adianto P. Simamora (The Jakarta Post)

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