Bank of China to Reevaluate Dam Project That Threatens Endangered Orangutan with Extinction

Sydney Jones

Press Secretary

[email protected]

Carole Mitchell

Sr. Director Communications

[email protected]

The Bank of China has announced it will re-evaluate its support for the Batang Toru dam project that threatens the Tapanuli orangutan. In response to this development, Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz released the following statement:

“We are grateful that Bank of China is taking the responsible step to reevaluate this project given the threat it poses to the Tapanuli orangutan and the entire Batang Toru ecosystem.

“The Batang Toru dam would permanently disrupt the habitat of the Tapanuli orangutan and would contribute to the first extinction of a great ape – our closest cousins in the animal kingdom – in all our recorded history. We are therefore confident that this review will lead to the cancellation of the project. Mighty Earth is ready to participate in this re-evaluation process and help facilitate a positive outcome.

“We strongly support development in Indonesia, but that requires some attention to be paid to ensuring that infrastructure projects are located in the right place. The Batang Toru dam is proposed for exactly the wrong place, with a higher density of Tapanuli orangutans than surrounding areas. Given that fact, we are confident that upon review, the Bank of China will recognize that there are far superior development options, such as expanding the nearby Sarulla Geothermal Plant, which has more energy potential than the Batang Toru dam and doesn’t put the ecosystem at risk. We have also supported responsible run of the river hydro development in Indonesia in the past, and are happy to work with all stakeholders to find better locations and additional financing for hydro infrastructure.

“More broadly, we appreciate the significant gestures that China has made in recent weeks to address the global destruction of forests. This announcement builds upon Chinese state-owned food company COFCO’s emerging leadership in tackling agriculture-linked deforestation. Together, these actions suggest that China is starting to take real steps toward ensuring that overseas investments like its Belt and Road Initiative have a positive impact on our shared planet.

“Responsible Chinese international financing would be a huge boost for the environment and local peoples everywhere, and has the potential to dramatically change – for the better – the way that China is perceived around the world.”

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