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INDONESIA’ RESOURCE POLICIES WILL BRING CATASTROPHE?


JAKARTA, Indonesia - According to activist Mukri Friatna, a head advocacy at the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi); Indonesia could face an energy crisis and environmental disaster unless it makes drastic changes to its current policies on natural resource exploitation.
It is truly at a tipping point, facing a forestry crisis, an environmental crisis, an energy crisis and even a food crisis, he said.
  • Mukri said the pending energy crisis stemmed from policies that allowed foreign investors to muscle out local ones in extracting fossil fuels.
  • “Of all the coal mines we have, 75 percent are controlled by foreign groups. In oil and gas, 70 percent of concessions are operated by companies from the United States,” he said.
  • Mukri said another factor for a future fuel shortage was declining domestic oil production, leading to a growing dependence on increasingly expensive imports. In 2004, total domestic production was 400 million barrels, while in 2010 it was 344 million.
  • On the other hand, Prianto Rakhmanto, an energy analyst, said rolling blackouts in several regions were a sign the country was already in the throes of an energy crisis.
  • Indonesia allows its natural resources to be exploited without concern for the environment or consideration for domestic consumption. Its policies have always been toward exporting and earning revenue, he said.
  • It would be difficult to reverse the situation without first ending subsidies for fuel and electricity and as long as prices remain artificially low, oil producers will find it more competitive to export oil rather than sell it in the country, he said.
Walhi executive director Berry Nahdian Furqon said the government bases its decisions on social and political interests, and never on the ecological crisis that Indonesia face. Therefore, necessary policy changes required serious commitment from the government.
Source: Agency
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