Indigenous community mounts legal challenge to Thai coal mine development

Local opposition to a planned coal mine in northern Thailand escalated in April when plaintiffs representing more than 600 villagers filed a lawsuit requesting the revocation of an environmental impact assessment conducted and approved more than 10 years ago.

Members of Kabeudin village, an Indigenous Karen community in Omkoi district, Chiang Mai province, filed the lawsuit against the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP) and the EIA Expert Review Committee on April 4, stating that the environmental impact analysis (EIA) is outdated and was conducted and approved with little to no participation from the local communities that will be impacted.

The villagers also allege the EIA report omitted crucial information about the communities themselves and the natural resources on which they depend, including their rights to clean air and water.

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Carolyn Cowan