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11/09/2022 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – Church organizations in East Nusa Tenggara province are protesting a government company for using their names to pass a geothermal drilling project that is strongly opposed by area residents. 

The State Electricity Company (PT PLN) claimed that it had received consent from the Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Commission of the Franciscan order, the Divine Word, and Ruteng diocese, to proceed with its projects in the province.  

PT PLN also claimed that the Vatican supported its geothermal project.  

According to Catholic media outlet UCA News, the project plans to harness 40 megawatts of geothermal energy potential. However, most residents oppose it because the drilling points are located near their villages and farmland. The government is ultimately targeting 60 drilling points across 13 villages.

Valens Dulmin, advocacy officer at JPIC Franciscans, told UCA News the inclusion of their agency’s name in the document “is part of the company’s tactics to legitimize the project.” 

He said on November 8, “Our position is clear. We reject its location close to the villages and fields. In addition, the company does not dare to state that it’ll bear the risk if a disaster occurs.” 

The JPIC Franciscans were invited to a seminar on the project in August in the district capital Ruteng but have said even “at that time we were against it.” 

“That’s why we hope the company does not manipulate the information,” he said. 

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