Thailand Dam Deal Spurs Court Complaint from Thai Villagers

Villagers belonging to a Thai activist group filed a complaint to Thailand’s Administrative Court yesterday for the cancellation of an agreement form the country’s Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand to buy power from a controversial mainstream Mekong dam in Laos, an NGO representative said yesterday. “According to the Thai Constitution, if there is any project or activity that causes impact to Thai stakeholders, the government and other related agencies have to first conduct studies on the impacts of the project, such as on the environment or the  health of the Thai people”, said Teerapong Pomun, a member of Living River Siam, one of the groups that assisted the 37 villagers who filed the complaint. Mr. Pomun added that the Thai government is not following international law, as its actions would violate the 1995 Mekong Agreement that states that Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia must agree on all development on the mainstream Mekong. This has not been the case with Xayaburi dam in Laos, as all four countries agreed in December that the Xayaburi dam project will be postponed pending further environmental studies.