Tue, Jun 26, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Lawmakers pass some air control drafts

PROGRESS:Opposition parties called for giving the EPA more control, while the New Power Party wanted to allow local governments to set stricter standards

By Yang Chun-hui and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer and CNA

Members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative caucus wave placards at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday, urging fellow legislators to vote against the government’s proposed amendments to the Air Pollution Control Act.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

Legislators yesterday passed the third reading of draft amendments to Article 12 of the Air Pollution Control Act (空氣污染防制法), now all that is needed for the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to consult with — rather than decide with — the Ministry of Economic Affairs on regulations related to controlling the total volume of air pollution.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) agreed to change the phrasing of Article 12 after opposition parties called for giving the EPA more control.

Draft amendments to Article 9, which allows emission allowances to be obtained for stationary sources of air pollution through trades and auctions or by reducing the emissions of mobile sources, also passed its third reading yesterday.

Article 9 encourages companies to obtain emission allowances by buying used cars to speed up the replacement of older cars.

Article 9 was passed despite disapproval from the opposition parties, who said that substitutions between stationary and mobile sources should not be allowed because they produce different pollutants.

Public and private premises that fail to adopt the emergency control measures when weather conditions or other reasons cause a serious deterioration in air quality would be given a fine of NT$20,000 to NT$1 million (US$658 to US$32,891), according to sections that have already passed their third reading.

If the breach is committed by a factory, the fine would be NT$100,000 to NT$20 million.

Public and private premises with stationary pollution sources must also comply with emission standards. Those that go over the standard emission limit to a degree that could damage the health or life of others would face a maximum seven-year prison sentence with the possible addition of a fine of NT$1 million to NT$15 million.

As of press time last night, voting on the separate articles of the draft amendments was ongoing.

Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) earlier in the day said he hoped that the legislature could pass the proposed amendments to the act by the end of last night’s session.

Legislators earlier yesterday afternoon began the second and third readings of draft amendments to the Air Pollution Control Act after the ruling DPP and opposition parties were unable to reach a consensus in the eighth round of negotiations earlier in the day.

During the discussions, the New Power Party also called for allowing local governments to set stricter requirements than those of the central government for permitting the setting up of stationary sources of air pollution.

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