May 3, 2017: CA rejects Lopez as environment secretary

May 3, 2017: CA rejects Lopez as environment secretary

MANILA – Lawmakers on Wednesday rejected the appointment of Environment Secretary Gina Lopez.

Lopez, a committed environmentalist, angered the mining industry after ordering the closure of 22 of the Philippines’ 41 mines in February to protect water resources in the world’s top nickel ore exporter.

She later cancelled dozens of contracts for undeveloped mines and just last week banned future open-pit mining projects as she tightened her crackdown of a sector she blames for extensive environmental damage.

Lopez made a final case for her confirmation before the CA on Tuesday, saying the constitutional right to a clean environment should be prioritized over business interests.

Under questioning from lawmakers, Lopez also defended the legal basis for requiring nickel miners that remove their ore stockpiles to set aside an additional P2 million per hectare of disturbed land on top of funds already set aside to repair environmental damage.

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