Vice Industry Minister Sorayud Petchtrakul said the Industrial Works Department (IWD) and the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) had written to the owners of the 65 suspended projects following last week's judgement.
"So far, we have only ordered the projects to be suspended temporarily, because we are afraid that to do otherwise would broaden the negative impact on investment. However, if any company breaks the court's ruling, the government agencies have the right to withdraw its licence," he said.
Industry Minister Charnchai Chairungrueng said the IWD and the IEAT would explore each project's status - including approvals of environmental and health-impact assessments (EIAs and HIAs) - and directly report to him within 45 days.
The two agencies will also forward unclear issues to the Office of the Attorney-General, so that further clarification can be sought from the Central Administrative Court.
They want the court to make clear which types of project were approved before the implementation of the Constitution in 2007, as well as whether the court's focus would be on EIA approvals or operating licences for them to proceed.
This interpretation is a crucial issue for the suspended Map Ta Phut projects. If the court decides EIA approval was equivalent to a licence, work on PTT's sixth gas-separation plant could resume. However, if it focused on operating licences, all 65 projects would remain suspended.
Meanwhile, the meeting of the government-appointed panel tasked with resolving problems involving the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate was unable yesterday to finalise the list of project types that would have an adverse effect on the environment under Article 67 (2) of the Constitution.
Suthi Atchasai, leader of the Eastern People's Network and a member of the committee chaired by former prime minister Anand Panyarachun, said the panel had not yet decided on the types of projects that needed an HIA because of their negative impact on the environment, quality of life and natural resources.
A civic group had proposed a list of 19 project types, including a water-diversion dam project under the government's Thai Khemkhaeng stimulus package.
However, the Industry Ministry proposed just eight project types, including nuclear power plants, large coal-fired power plants and mining.
Suthi said the committee would make a final decision on which option to go for tomorrow.
Anand said the committee had agreed to include representatives from civic groups in the expert panel that would study each industrial project in terms of its effect on the environment. The panel will be appointed by the prime minister.
He added that the owners of all 65 suspended projects had agreed to enter a new EIA and HIA process.
Companies can submit their current EIA reports to the expert committee, which will decide whether they are complete.
However, they must conduct new HIAs, Anand said.