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Palm oil company fined millions of dollars for destroying Sumatran forest

An Indonesian court has found the palm oil company PT Kallista Alam guilty of illegally burning large swathes of the Tripa peat forest, which lies within the Leuser Ecosystem.

The court ordered the company to pay 114.3 billion rupiah (nearly 9.4 million US$) in compensation and 251.7 billion rupiah (close to 20.8 million US$) to restore the affected areas of forest.

The case was brought against PT Kallista Alam by the Indonesian environment ministry.

“This is a clear message to companies working in Aceh who think they can destroy protected forests and get away with it,” said Muhammad Nur, chairman of the Aceh branch of Walhi (Friends of the Earth Indonesia).

The senior judge at the Meulaboh district court, Rahmawati SH, said PT Kallista Alam had illegally used fire to clear forest land and was in breach of National Law N° 32/2009 on Environmental Protection and Management.

The Tripa swamp forest is a last bastion for orangutans and is home to many other endangered species.

tripa burns
Tripa burning in 2012; photo by Carlos Quiles.

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