Coal, palm oil waste exceptions evidence Jobs Law for investors: Walhi

Source – March 14, 2021
Barge transporting coal on the Musi River in Palembang, South Sumatra – February 15, 2021 (Antara)

Nicholas Ryan Aditya, Jakarta – Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) political desk head, Khalisa Khalid, says that they were concerned from the start that the enactment of the Job Creation Law would impact on environmental protection.

This concern became ever more real when the government decided to remove coal and palm oil waste from the category of toxic and hazardous materials (B3).

According to Khalid, the removal of coal and palm oil waste from the B3 list proves that the Jobs Law threatens environmental protections in order to facilitate investment.

"This was Walhi's concern from the start about the Omnibus Law or the Jobs Law. That instruments for the environmental protection would be reduced or loosened once again to ease investment and profits for corporations", said Khalid when contacted by on Saturday March 13.

Khalid said that the decision to remove the waste from the B3 category is due to derivative regulations flowing on from the Jobs Law.

Yet, he said, there will be specific impacts following on from this decision both for the environment as well as public health.

"What will the impact be? Aside from the threat to public health which will be impacted on of course it will worsen environmental damage", he said.

The decision is also irregular because it is known that the sources of these wastes are two industries, namely the coal and palm oil industries.

Based on this argument, Khalid believes that it will be unlikely or impossible for the government to meet it climate change commitments arising from the Paris Agreement.

"This is what will happen if the government continues to facilitate or make it easier for these two industries which make a huge contribution to damaging the environment and the climate crisis", said Khalid.

The decision further proves that the spirit of the Jobs Law is indeed in the interests of investment at the expense of environmental protection. Moreover, he is of the view that the Jobs Law considers environmental protection as an obstacle to investment.

Earlier, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo removed coal and palm oil waste from the B3 category although they were not removed at the same time. Widodo first removed coal waste then a day later removed palm oil waste from the B3 category.

The decision is stipulated under Government Regulation Number 22/2021 on the Implementation and Management of Environmental Protection. The regulation is a derivative regulation of Law Number 11/2020 on Job Creation.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Limbah Batu Bara dan Sawit Tak Masuk Kategori B3, Walhi: Ini yang Dikhawatirkan dari UU Cipta Kerja".]