* Environment ministry to object to 1.2-GW coal-fired plant
* Industry minister to give opinion on plant by June 28 (Adds minister’s comment and details)
By Yuka Obayashi
TOKYO, June 12 (Reuters) - Japan’s environment ministry is pushing back on the growing use of coal to generate power after the Fukushima nuclear disaster led to the shutdown of the nation’s reactors, as concerns mount over greenhouse gas emissions.
Environment Minister Yoshio Mochizuki said on Friday he will submit an objection to the powerful industry ministry over plans for a 1.2 gigawatt (GW) coal-fired plant to be built by Electric Power Development (J-Power) and Osaka Gas.
Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has been promoting the use of coal to cut costs relative to imports of expensive liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The planned coal-fired plant in western Japan is the first station project subject to a government environmental assessment since Japan mapped out its target to cut CO2 emissions by 26 percent from 2013 levels by 2030.
Mochizuki also called for the power industry to come up with a framework to help it trim carbon dioxide emissions in line with the government’s target “as soon as possible”.
“If new coal-fired plants are built under the status quo, there is a risk that Japan will miss its emissions target,” Mochizuki told a news conference.
The move comes amid increasing criticism by environmental groups and from other countries as Japan burns record amounts of coal and plans a wave of new power stations using the fuel as it struggles to revive its nuclear industry.
Under Japan’s environmental impact assessment law, government approval for a power plant project is based on an examination of its effects on the surrounding environment.
The industry ministry handles the process and is authorised to give an approval, although the environment ministry can submit opinions during the assessment that could influence the final decision.
The industry ministry will look into the project planned developed by J-Power and Osaka Gas, and the minister will issue his opinion by June 28, an official said.
The ministry will also push the power industry to make its own framework for cutting emissions, another official said.
Shares in J-Power and Osaka Gas fell more than 3 percent on Friday after the news, underperforming the benchmark Nikkei average, which closed up 0.12 percent. (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Tom Hogue)