The Supreme Administrative Court yesterday rejected the government’s appeal against a previous ruling on the Central Taiwan Science Park’s Phase 3 development project.
The court ruled that work at the Phase 3 zone in Cising Farm (七星農場) in Taichung County’s Houli Township (后里) must remain suspended, while the original ruling stopping work at the Phase 4 zone in Changhua County’s Erlin Township (二林) was revoked.
In late July, the Taipei High Administrative Court ruled construction work in both zones should be suspended because of the safety risk posed by the projects, which could cause irreparable environmental damage.
The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), the Central Taiwan Science Park Administration and the National Science Council appealed that decision last month.
Yesterday’s rejection of their appeal means the suspension of the Phase 3 development would remain in place until a new environmental impact assessment (EIA) report is submitted. Whether the suspension of Phase 4 will go ahead will be up to the Taipei High Administrative Court.
The Supreme Administrative Court rejected the appeal on several grounds.
First, it said the development could result in irreparable environmental damage, since the project failed to pass Article 5 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act (環境影響評估法), which deals with “development activities for which there is concern of adverse impact on the environment.”
Second, the operators failed to submit a health risk assessment report.
Third, the considerable amounts of hazardous wastewater being released at the Cising Farm site posed a danger. The affected area is near Niouchou Creek (牛稠坑溝) to the north of the park and downstream of the Shuang Liao (雙寮) water intake of Da-an Creek (大安溪). Water from this catchment area is used for irrigation and household water consumption, and therefore the release of polluted water in the area constituted a risk to health and safety, the court said.
It also said the chemical toxins in the wastewater were found to pose a considerable threat to the environment and the health of local residents.
Fourth, the suspension of the development would not have an adverse impact on public interests. The interests of the companies themselves constitute private interests.
Fifth, the Taipei High Administrative Court had already annulled the EIA report, therefore the report should be considered revoked.
Environmental Protection Administration Minister Stephen Shen (沈世宏) responded by saying Phase 3 had already passed an EIA, and therefore the court’s rejection of the appeal was immaterial.
The park administration said it was surprised, but added it would carry on with construction of public infrastructure in the Phase 3 area since it had obtained the EPA’s approval to do so.
Park administration director-general Yang Wen-ke (楊文科) said companies with operations in the Phase 3 area would not be affected by yesterday’s ruling.
The nation’s No. 2 LCD panel maker, AU Optronics Corp (友達光電), is one of the biggest firms in the park. It was set to install equipment for its second 8.5-generation plant there later this year, paving the way for the launch of TV panel production next year.
Yang said the park administration has updated assessments of the impact on the environment and health of residents in the area, which also received approval from the EPA.
The agency’s EIA committee gave conditional approval to the Phase 3 development project at the park on Tuesday, saying that although manufacturing activities would be suspended, construction work could continue.
Yang expected the construction work to be resumed in the middle of this month at the earliest.
The Executive Yuan said it would wait until it received a written copy of the ruling to comment.
Also See: Quantifying the non-quantifiable
‘FREEDOM WINE’: Taiwanese are empathetic of Australians, the president said, while lawmakers called on their constituents to drink Australian wine to show their support Taiwan would take action to back Australians at a time when they are “under tremendous pressure,” President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday, as tensions between Australia and China heated up. Taipei and Canberra have been mutually supportive in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in exchanging critical medical materials in the early stages, Tsai said, before chairing the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Central Standing Committee meeting in Taipei. Taiwan and Australia are like-minded nations, sharing the common values of democracy, freedom and human rights, while their economic and trade relations have also become close, she said. Canberra has been voicing support for Taiwan’s international
VIGILANCE: From tomorrow all arrivals must provide the result of a PCR test issued within three days of boarding, and the CECC asked people to report anyone who has faked their result The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) expects an increase in the number of returning travelers in the coming days, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday, adding that the varying qualities of COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test reports from other countries is a big concern. Chen, who heads the center, was speaking to the media on the sidelines of a Taiwan Foundation for Rare Disorders scholarship award ceremony in Taipei. “As the global COVID-19 situation is worsening, and with some holidays coming up, there might be an increase in the number of overseas Taiwanese returning to Taiwan,” he
CECC RULES: The autumn-winter COVID-19 prevention program, including mandatory mask wearing in eight types of public venues and indoor facilities, begins today A temporary, two-week ban on Indonesian migrant workers entering the nation is to begin on Friday, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced yesterday as it reported 24 new imported cases of COVID-19. Twenty of the new cases are Indonesian migrant workers who arrived between Nov. 11 and Friday last week, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. The cases were discovered during a special project on Friday to conduct polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on all 939 recently arrived Indonesian migrant workers in centralized quarantine facilities, as the majority of imported cases in the past
Passports with a redesigned cover highlighting Taiwan would be issued starting on Jan. 11, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. The new cover design, which was announced on Sept. 2, highlights Taiwan by printing the word in a larger font. While the new passport cover retains “the Republic of China” in Chinese, the English name is printed along the outer circle of the national emblem, which would enable other nations to clearly identify that it is a Taiwanese passport, not a Chinese passport, the ministry said. The costs and application procedures for the new version are the same as