The military junta appears to many as somewhat befuddled by the coal issue in Krabi. That said, it could be read as being duplicitous, which would be par for the military course.
A couple of days ago, the Bangkok Post reported that The Dictator “ordered the halted environmental and health impact assessment processes for the Krabi coal-fired power plant project to be scrapped…”. That’s what the protesters had demanded, threatening to again rally if the junta didn’t do this.
Indeed, one of the junta’s spokesmen stated that General Prayuth Chan-ocha dumped the process “out of concern that without the cancellation, there might be some issues with public participation in deciding which fuel source was best suited for the controversial project.” He means they feared having political allies protest.
The Bangkok Post also reported The Dictator as saying something quite remarkable: “the public must be allowed to have their say.” That’s potentially a first. But he does it for political allies and he probably expects to be able to control the process.
But then he declared that public “forums will not focus on issues relating to the controversial coal-fired power plant so as to avoid any conflicts.” So there will be forums but not discussing the issue at hand….
Yet another report in the Bangkok Post states that the junta has been working to “improve the public’s understanding about new environmental and health impact assessments needed for the Krabi coal-fired power plant project, saying they have to be completed within a month from now.”
That will be the quickest EHIA in history. So it will be crafted to meet the junta’s desires and political concerns.
This Post report also suggests that some locals have different perspectives from those “leading” the earlier protests in Bangkok and showing less “trust” in the junta.