REVISION APPROVAL OF THE GEOTHERMAL LAW IS THREATENING PROTECTED FOREST AND WATER SOURCE
With the passing of the Law Revision number 27 of 2003 (Law 27/2003) on Geothermal, on last August 26, 2014, then the encroachment of conservation area and protected forest under the pretext of geothermal utilization, will be increasingly massive in the future. Conservation area which is the last habitat of endemic and rare species, and protected forest that becomes the foundation of catchment area and water resource of the community, its existence should not interfere, considering its natural services that is so essential to human life.


The removal of the term "mining" in the revision of the Law 27/2003, clearly it was just a ploy to eliminate bottlenecks in permitting the utilization of geothermal energy, particularly for geothermal power plant (PLTP). Permitting and Implementation phase of the geothermal power plant itself is not different from the mining, ranging from investigation, exploration, feasibility studies up to exploitation. Prohibition of mining in conservation areas and protected forests should also apply to geothermal. In the revision of Law 27/2003, seems there is an attempt of "brainwashing" and creates a presumption that the geothermal exploitation (PLTP) is a different and much cleaner than mining.

Revision of Law 27/2003 which mandates allowing the exploitation of geothermal energy in conservation areas and protected forests will certainly threaten the catchment areas and water resources. Operation of a water voracious geothermal power plant, is a threat to public safety, considering the utilization of water of the protected forest area is very broad, not only for the people who live around the forest. Not to mention the loss of stability of the soil due to geothermal drilling, especially when water is injected into the rock layers that were previously dry and no water in it.

According to the Directorate General of New and Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM), Rida Mulyana, geothermal potential in the conservation forest about 21% (December 2013). So that, eliminate the term of the mining and give permission to exploiting the geothermal in conservation areas and protected forests should not become a matter of urgency. Furthermore, with the landscape and its position on the equator, Indonesia has a lot of potential for other renewable and clean energy.

"The damage in the catchment areas and water sources, also living under the threat of landslides, will become daily life for the people who live around the geothermal exploitation area," said Ki Bagus, Campaigner of Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM). "moreover, most of the forests in Indonesia has a cultural attachment to the surrounding community." He concluded.