Mining amendments a boon for Indonesia’s coal industry

By Hans Nicholas Jong 

JAKARTA — The coal industry in Indonesia, one of the world’s top exporters of the fossil fuel, has laid waste to large swaths of forest, polluted waterways, and disenfranchised local communities, observers say. Under a new deregulation bill being deliberated in parliament, things could get even worse, they warn.

The bill, one of two so-called omnibus bills containing more than 1,000 proposed amendments to at least 79 laws, calls for a loosening of several restrictions on mining companies to boost industry growth. This lifting of oversight shows the deregulation initiative is meant to maximize natural resource exploitation instead of ensuring sustainable extraction, said Satrio Swandiko, a climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace Indonesia.

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