Tabanan district legislators have backed the provincial government’s ban on geothermal power at Bedugul, saying it would break religious taboos by drilling into sacred earth, posed a risk of environmental damage and could threaten disaster if something went wrong.
I Ketut Loka Antara, a Golkar legislator from West Selemadeg, has told the legislature his region would be the first to feel any negative effects from a geothermal project at Bedugul. “I have opposed the concept from the beginning,” he said.
He said local concern about the proposal was immense and had been heightened by the Sidoarjo mud volcano disaster near Surabaya in East Java in which thousands of people had lost their homes.
A Democratic Party member, I Putu Oka Mahendra, from rural Pejaten, also opposed a geothermal power project at Bedugul — or anywhere else in Bali.
He said Bali was a small island that did not need such a massive project. “We will not be supporting the environment if a geothermal project is built in Bali.”
Mahendra said the only feasible industry in Bali was tourism because Balinese culture and customs were what attracted tourists to the island.
“Our way of life will be disrupted by mega-development projects such as geothermal power,” he said. “If you want to make geothermal power, look for places outside Bali which have the potential for it.”
Mahendra said the effects of forest destruction in the uplands were already clear from heavy stream flows in rainy weather. Catchments needed to be protected so rivers would not flood heavily downstream and inundate populated areas.