INDONESIA COURT UPHOLDS FINES AGAINST PALM OIL COMPANY FOR PEAT FOREST DESTRUCTION
The High Court of Banda Aceh denied an appeal by palm oil company PT. Kallista Alam, which had been found guilty of destroying over 1,000 hectares of protected peat forest in Gunung Leuser ecosystem. The company faces a 114 billion rupiah ($9.4 million) fine, and is required to pay an additional 252 billion rupiah ($20.7 million) for cleanup, restoration, and remediation of the Tripa swamp area. Further, if the company is late in its compliance, it must pay an additional 5 million rupiah ($410) a day. Several key members of the company's leadership, including its director and field manager, face individual fines and prison time as well. Peat swamp forests are rapidly disappearing throughout Indonesia and the world, largely due to logging and encroachment by plantations. Tropical peatlands store an average of 2,009 metric tons of carbon per hectare—or the greenhouse gas equivalent of one year of emissions by 1,551 U.S. passenger vehicles. A legal advisor for the company stated they have not yet received the decision, but are considering an appeal to the Supreme Court. For the full story, see http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0930-kallista-alam-appeal-denied.html.