Sat, Oct 15, 2016 - Page 12 News List

Formosa denies its plant is county’s largest polluter

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp (台化) yesterday protested the Changhua County Government’s decision to shut down its plant in the county, while rejecting the claim that the plant is the largest polluter in the county.

Last year, the three boilers at the company’s coal-fired power plant in the county recorded sulfur oxide emissions of 174.435 tonnes, representing 3.642 percent of the county’s total emissions, Formosa Chemicals vice chairman Hong Fu-yuan (洪福源) said, citing data published by the county government.

Hong said that the company has met the county government’s demands of keeping sulfur oxide emissions to under 50 parts per million and switching to burning coal with lower sulfur content.

In light of these improvements, the county government should renew operating permits for two of the three boilers so that the company can resume production while meeting environmental regulations, as well as preserve the jobs and interests of its employees, Hong said.

The plant has not violated any emission regulations in the past five years, he said.

UNIONS TO PROTEST

Hong’s remarks came ahead of a planned protest in Changhua today by the members of several workers’ unions affiliated with Formosa Plastics Group (台塑集團).

Last month, the county government rejected Formosa Chemicals’ permit renewal applications for the three boilers, whose permits expired on Sept. 28 and led to the shutdown of the plant, which produces nylon and rayon.

The Changhua County Environmental Bureau yesterday said the firm’s license renewal application was rejected on grounds that its filings did not verify whether the power plant’s coal supply met emissions standards.

The company also declined to resubmit its application to meet the county government’s limits on use of coal with high bituminous content, the bureau said in a separate statement.

The bureau said that the company is bound to the terms set at the environmental impact assessment conducted in 1999.

Regarding the company’s claims that the bureau had summarily raised emissions standards before rejecting its renewal applications, the bureau said that limits on burning bituminous coal have remained unchanged for that past 17 years, adding that its ruling is supported by the Environmental Protection Administration.

The company is barred from burning bituminous coal without the required licenses, the bureau said.

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