Phu Yen Province approved the destruction of nearly 116 hectares of forest to build a golf course despite having no legal documents to go ahead.
Protective forest in Tuy Hoa City destroyed
On April 21, the trees were felled near Tuy Hoa city at the location of the New City Vietnam tourism complex project.
Mai Kim Loc, vice director of the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment confirmed that the local authorities had destroyed protective forest.
In 2003, all coastal land in Tuy Hoa City was included in the tourism development plan. However, new regulations were issued after that.
Projects that affecting more than 20 hectares of protection forest must be approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the ministry had not approved the environmental impact report of New City Vietnam project.
As 116 hectares of forest will be destroyed for the golf course, this project needed to be approved by the prime minister. But the reports and documents weren’t completed as it needed an approved environmental impact report.
The provincial still allowed New City Vietnam Company, the project’s investor, to clear the forest anyway as the Miss Friendship of ASEAN will be held in Phu Yen this July and the authorities hope the tourism complex will be a major attraction for tourists.
“It will take a year or two to complete all procedures while the beauty pageant is going to be held in July. So we created favourable conditions for the investor,” Loc said.
Loc said his department was responsible for the decision to destroy the forest. They received the decision from the provincial people’s committee.
Phu Yen Urban Environment JSC, the company hired to destroy the forest since late 2016 said they didn’t know anything about the incomplete procedures.
“We don’t understand, we aren’t managers. We are only hired to do what we do. The woods are transferred to the local Department of Finance to sell,” said director Huynh Kim Toan.
Vo Ngoc Kha, chairman of Tuy Hoa City, also said they didn’t know anything as the decision came from provincial authorities. “I’ve ordered to halt the project until they have all required papers,” he said.
Lee Jung Jun, project manager of New City Vietnam Company refused to comment.
Nguyen Le Vu, vice director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment said they agreed to let New City Vietnam carry out the project despite the permit not being issued to begin work.
Nguyen Duyen from the Phu Yen Department of Natural Resources and Environment said the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment was conducting inspections at all projects that have forest land in the province so they will wait for the result before giving official answers.
However, all activities to destroy the forest are still being carried out.
The article "Protective forest destroyed for Phu Yen golf course" was originally published on http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/environment/177133/protective-forest-destroyed-for-phu-yen-golf-course.html