Environmental Affairs Minister Rachmat Witoelar has finally accepted a plan to direct hot mud flow into the sea, only after the mud has been processed into water.

"The Office of the Environmental Affairs Minister does not agree with the idea of flowing the mud into the sea. But, in emergency state, we are forced to accept the plan on condition that the mud must be first processed into normal water," the Minister said following a cabinet meeting at the Presidential office on Friday evening.

The government had earlier allowed PT Lapindo Brantas gas drilling company to build dams within three months to accommodate the hot mud flowing from the company`s gas well, while waiting for the incessant hot mud flow to stop. But, if they fail to stop the mud leakage, the hot mud flow have to directed to the sea through 14-km long pipes.

"However, the mud must first be treated and processed to separate the solid waste so that only normal water is left and allowed to be sent to the sea," the minister said PT Lapindo Brantas has to bear all expenses for the dam construction and the water disposal to the sea, he added. Meanwhile, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited Sidoarjo on Friday to see the latest condition in the areas affected by the hot mud disaster. The Head of State said that PT Lapindo Brantas had to be held responsible for the hot mudflow which has started from the company`s gas exploration leakage since May 29.

"PT Lapindo Brantas must be responsible for this disaster," the head of state told thousands of people who were forced to flee their homes due to the hot mud flood inundating their villages. Last Thursday (Aug 10), the dam at Siring village was breached by the hot mud, which inundated hundreds of houses and forced some 5,680 people to evacuate.


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