Company building hydroelectric plant in Artvin breaching environmental rules, say activists

Activists have announced that MNG Holding has been breaching the rules outlined in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report while undertaking the construction of a hydroelectric power plant in Kamilet Valley in Artvin's Arhavi district. The excavation soil has been dumped into the stream bed in the valley, as a result of which muddy water has been flowing from the valley, Arhavi Natural Life Protection Platform announced.

Eren Dağıstanlı / Duvar

Arhavi Natural Life Protection Platform has announced that MNG Holding has been breaching the environmental regulations while undertaking the construction of a hydroelectric power plant (HES) in the Kamilet Valley in the Black Sea province of Artvin.

The platform said although the company had declared in its environmental impact assessment (EIA) report that excavation soil would be stored in previously determined storage areas, it has been dumping this excavation soil down the valley sides, further ruining the environment.

“This project has once again shown that the EIA process runs as a show in our country and it is completely non-functional regarding the compliance of the projects' implementations with the environmental regulations. The projects outlined in the EIA report and the projects implemented in reality are not the same. In this project, comprehensive changes have been undertaken,” the platform said.

Arhavi residents have been protesting against the Orta HES project since 2010. Locals and NGOs in 2011 filed an application with the Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board under Culture Ministry for Kamilet Valley to be declared as a protected area. They submitted a report prepared by a group of academics from the Artvin Çoruh and Karadeniz Technical Universities. However, shortly after their application, the authority to give decisions regarding the protected areas has been given to the Environment Ministry, which turned down the locals' demand citing the reason of hydroelectric power plant project in the area.

Arhavi Natural Life Protection Platform said that muddy water has been flowing from Kamilet Valley since the launch of the controversial hydroelectric power plant project.

“MNG firm and relevant public authorities have caused a hydroelectric power plant project to be undertaken in a valley where this should not have been done,” the platform said, adding that they have applied to the relevant public authorities for the construction works to be halted.