Thai villagers damned: Court throws out decade-long legal fight over power from Laos dam


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A Thai court on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit seeking to halt purchases of electricity by the country from a hydropower dam in neighbouring Laos over environmental concerns, bringing an end to a decade-long legal battle.

The case, brought by 37 villagers from eight provinces along the Mekong River, primarily sought to cancel a power purchase agreement between state-owned Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) and the Xayaburi dam, which they argued negatively impacted the environment and livelihoods.

The supreme administrative court in Bangkok said the case, which was initially brought in 2012 and failed in lower courts, had no legal grounds.

“The court said the power purchase agreement did not directly impact the plaintiffs or people in the Mekong basin,” Rattanamanee Polkla, a lawyer representing the community said.

The 1,285-megawatt Xayaburi dam, built and operated by a subsidiary of Thailand construction company CH Karnchang, is the first hydropower dam in the lower Mekong River and sells 95% of its power to Thailand.

The start of its full commercial operations in 2019 coincided with parts of the Mekong drying to a trickle, even at the end of the rainy season. The company said it was not responsible for reduced river flow.

Source: TimesLIVE

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