Wed, May 03, 2000 - Page 8 News List

Pinnan industrial site must be scrutinized

By Sue Lin

The Pinnan industrial project, which was hastily passed at the end of last year, had its last review meeting on April 26. However, the many disputes over environmental issues surrounding the project have led to a "reprimand" issued by the Control Yuan and the committee's decision to postpone a final ruling.

The project involves a number of issues, including the threat to the ecology of the Chiku lagoon and the endangered black-faced spoonbill, massive CO2 emissions, accelerated erosion of the coastline and sand dunes and the crowding out of water resources for agricultural and residential use. Also, the location of the project site is in conflict with the rich fishing and tourism resources of Tainan County. These may have a negative impact of the future development of the Tainan Science-based Industrial Park.

According to the Environmental Protection Administration's (EPA, 環保署) EIA regulations and guidelines, "(projects) which violate the requirements of international environmental regulations or which obstruct sustainable development of the environment and ecology shall undergo Policy Environmental Impact Assessments." The Pinnan project certainly needs to undergo an assessment because it violates the spirit of the Climate Change Convention as well as international trends toward ecological conservation.

Three of the 10 major issues in the EIA review, namely "alternative sites," "industrial port alternatives," and "conservation of the black-faced spoonbills" have been consistently ignored in previous review meetings.

Now that the KMT has left the final decision on the project to the new government, we call on the EPA to require the developers to meet the following demands:

1. Apart from a strict review of additional information on the conclusions reached by the 66th review meeting, the EPA should also require developers to provide additional information on and detailed evaluations of "alternative sites," "industrial port alternatives," and "conservation of the black-faced spoonbills."

2. The EPA should also require the project to undergo a "Policy Environmental Impact Assessment" in order to demonstrate the legitimacy of EIA laws and the credibility of the EIA system.

3. The industrial harbor should also be put into the scope of the Pinnan project's EIA. It would be irresponsible for the outgoing government to pass the project and leave the industrial harbor hanging in the air.

4. The EPA should also set a clear figure for the maximum area in the Chiku lagoon the project is allowed to use. The EPA should not use cloudy language that leaves people second-guessing -- such as "... a maximum 5 percent of the lagoon area; use of the rest of the lagoon is not allowed for the time being" -- then call such language an epitome of environmental protection.

5. The members of the EIA review committee should stand up courageously and strictly scrutinize the project. Otherwise, this project may possibly cause an irreversible impact on the the Chiku wetlands' ecology as well as future related problems.

6. The EPA should require developers to submit a written commitment to take full responsibility of the risks to the ecology posed by the project as well as the lives and properties of residents in and around the area. Also, land for the project should only be leased, not sold outright, so that developers cannot play fast and loose on land speculation in the name of industrial development.

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