Fri, Apr 22, 2011 - Page 1 News List

After nine hours, still no verdict on Kuokuang’s EIA

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

They said they hoped the panel would reject the project.

The students held mockups of newspapers bearing headlines proclaiming that the Kuokuang project had been canceled.

The mockups, dated April 22, had mastheads reading “United Oyster News” and “Oyster Times,” and were designed to show support for oyster farmers in Changhua whose livelihood is expected to be affected should the project be built.

“We cannot accept that the project will be approved, even conditionally, because the external costs are too high to be absorbed by the environment,” said Tsai Pei-hui (蔡培慧), a teacher at Shih Hsin University and the organizer of the mock newspapers..

At a separate setting, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers also called on the government to drop the project, citing environmental and health concerns.

Construction of the facility would also run counter to the government’s pledge to reduce carbon emissions, they said.

The proposed site — a protected wetlands — was the “kidney of Taiwan,” DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said.

“The DPP caucus is resolutely opposed to building a petrochemical plant there,” he said.

The DPP’s presidential hopefuls have also unanimously expressed disapproval of the project.

Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said earlier this month that she hoped the facility could be built in or nearer to oil-producing regions in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia.

However, government agencies have sent mixed messages on the idea of building the plant overseas.

James Tien (田中光), director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, yesterday said that Malaysia and Indonesia were among a number of Southeast Asian countries that have expressed an interest in the Kuokuang project.

However, these countries have not submitted any substantial plans for hosting the project, Tien said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY VINCENT Y. CHAO, SHIH HSIU-CHUAN AND CNA

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