Thailand will not object to the proposed Xayaburi hydropower dam in Laos, but Vientiane must shoulder responsibility for potential environmental damage caused by the US$3.8 billion project, the Bangkok Post reported yesterday.
“Laos has the right to construct the dam as it is located inside Lao territory . . . but if there are any environmental impacts, the Lao government must take responsibility,” Thai Natural Resources and Environment Minister Preecha Rengsomboonsuk was quoted as saying at a meeting of the Thai National Mekong Committee on Tuesday.
Thai government spokespeople contacted by the Post were unable to confirm the report before print deadline yesterday.
Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam all voiced concerns earlier this year about the transboundary impact of the proposed 1,260-megawatt dam, which environmentalists have said could devastate fish stocks and water levels in the Mekong Basin.
The four countries will discuss the proposed dam at a three-day Mekong River Commission meeting in Siem Reap starting on Wednesday.
“We hope that at the meeting next week that the four ministers will . . . consider the concerns that are raised by the civil society groups, by the governments and by the experts,” Pianporn Deetes, Thailand campaign coordinator for International Rivers, said.
Te Navuth, secretary-general of the Cambodia National Mekong Committee, could not be reached for comment late yesterday.