Will FABA be Delisted as B3 Waste For Good?

APBI-ICMA and other associations from industries that the impacted by the listing of fly-ash bottom-ash (FABA) as toxic and hazardous (B3) wastes, have been challenging the government policy for years. Industries such as cement, pulp & paper, power plants, and others have joined forces in raising their concerns over the government policy. The enactment of the controversial Government Regulation (PP) No. 101 of 2014 on the B3 Wastes sealed the fate of the industries that utilizing FABA will cost them substantial amount of money and uncertainty over the testing process.

The uncertainty is growing as the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) issued the MoEF Regulation No. 10 of 2020 on the Characteristic Testing of B3 Wastes as the implementing regulation of the PP 101 of 2014. Associations claimed the Ministry did not solicit inputs from the impacted industries and in fact the regulation drafted without a single socialization event involving stakeholders. The Ministerial Regulation issued on early June 2020 strucked the industries by surprise and it triggers ICMA and other associations to collaborate in challenging the regulations. The associations have raised their concern through the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs and the Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment with the hope that action should be taken by the Government. And finally, after few months virtual meeting during the Pandemic Covid-19, the Government has taken action by hosting a limited ministerial meeting. The virtual meeting dated 22 July 2020 hosted by Airlangga Hartarto and attended by Luhut Panjaitan, Agus Kartasasmita, Arifin Tasrif and most importantly Siti Nurbaya the minister of environment.

According to some sources, the result of the meeting was that the MoEF asked within 10 days to revise the Regulation No. 10 of 2020 to accommodate the concern of the industries. During the cabinet meeting, some ministers mentioned that in other countries, particularly in developed countries including Japan, such mining waste no longer treated as the toxic and hazardous. Instead, FABA and other tailings are commonly used as construction materials. In the Fukushima perfecture, FABA is even used to support the construction of a massive wall built to anticipate possible tsunami caused by potential earthquake.

The MoEF reacted immediately after the 22 July meeting and invited associations for a virtual meeting on the 24th of July. The meeting chaired by the Director General of Waste and B3 Management Vivien Rosa and attended by ICMA and invited associations. The Ministry collected inputs from the attendees and will consider the proposal in the drafting of the revision of the MoEF Regulation No. 10 of 2020. ICMA which support government initiative in managing  B3 wastes suggested that the government should prove that the Regulation 10 provide more benefits or better than the previous regulation. As this editorial is written, there is no news or progress circulated on the drafting process. This raises concern among the associations that the potential revision may not be significant as previously expected. Therefore, it is interesting to see what will be the reaction from the MoEF which has long been resisting the idea of delisting FABA as B3 wastes eventhough many best practices on the treatment of FABA in other countries have been presented to the government.

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The Jokowi Administration has responded to the concern raised by wide ranging industries that impacted by the decision from the government in listing fly-ash bottom (FABA) ash as toxic and hazardous wastes (“B3”). On July 22nd, a limited cabinet meeting was convened chaired by the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs and attended by the Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment, Minister of Environment and Forestry, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, and Ministry of Industry.

Impacted industries represented by about 16 associations from cement, pulp and paper, independent power producers, to coal have issued joint declarations demanding the exclusion (delisting) of FABA from the list of B3 wastes. Such movement was triggered by the issuance of a new Minister of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) regulation No. 10 of 2020 on the Characteristic Test of B3 Wastes. The associations claimed the MoEF issued the regulation without consulted the impacted industries.

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