Mon, Dec 11, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Pollution fund likely to be readjusted

LION’S SHARE:Local governments receive NT$3 billion per year from the air pollution tax, while the Environmental Protection Administration alone controls NT$4 billion

By Lee Hsin-fang  /  Staff reporter

Premier William Lai (賴清德) is likely to distribute more revenue from the air pollution tax to local governments, a source at the Executive Yuan said, adding that a decision might be reached after Lai meets with mayors and county commissioners tomorrow.

Lai is to meet local representatives and Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers today and tomorrow to discuss a draft amendment to the Air Pollution Control Act (空氣污染防制法), which is expected to be on the agenda of the Cabinet’s meeting on Thursday.

There are disagreements over the regulations governing pollutants emitted by Taiwan Power Co’s (Taipower, 台電) power plants.

While the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) wants to impose regulations on Taipower’s coal-fired power plants through the draft amendment, the Ministry of Economic Affairs aims to prioritize stabilizing the nation’s power supply, saying that some of Taipower’s facilities should not be covered by the draft amendment.

The distribution of the fund is also a contentious subject, as there have been demands that the government take more effective measures to improve air quality in the nation’s central and southern regions.

The government in 1995 began collecting an air pollution tax from stationary pollution sources and gasoline and diesel-fueled vehicles.

Pollution tax revenue reaches about NT$7 billion (US$233 million) per year, with NT$4 billion controlled by the EPA alone and NT$3 billion distributed among local governments.

Local governments have been asking for more funding to combat air pollution, but the EPA hopes to maintain its share of the fund.

The Executive Yuan and the National Development Council both plan to readjust the fund’s distribution, a Cabinet official said on Saturday on condition of anonymity.

Sixty percent of the tax collected from stationary pollution sources are given to local governments, while the EPA keeps the money collected from mobile pollution sources, EPA Deputy Minister Chan Shun-kuei (詹順貴) said.

The fund should be based on the principle that those who produce pollution should pay and those who suffer from pollution should receive compensation, Chan said.

The EPA can allocate more funds to regions whose residents suffer from serious mobile pollution, but local governments should also propose plans to curtail pollution, he said, adding that the Cabinet will decide whether to readjust the funding ratio.

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