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Wed, Jan 12, 2000 - Page 2 News List

Chen outlines environmental priorities policy

GREEN ISSUES The DPP presidential candidate details in his latest white paper how conservation and economic growth can be simultaneously boosted

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

DPP presidential candidate Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday vowed to establish what he termed a new "environmental protection order" to develop economic growth while at the same time protecting Taiwan's natural resources.

Chen also advocated drawing up a "Basic Law for Environmental Protection" and setting up a "Ministry of Environmental Resources" if elected president in March.

Publicizing the latest in a series of white papers -- this time on the government's current environmental and water resources policies -- Chen criticized the government's current environmental policy for over-centralization and excessive redundancy in the system. He said it ignored the importance of calculating the capitalized costs of better environmental protection.

"All governmental ministries and organizations meant to execute environmental protection policies are either too low in the hierarchy or overlap in their functions," Chen said.

"Therefore, Taiwan's current environmental protection policies can never rival economic development," he said.

To solve this problem, Chen said the government should concentrate on carrying out four basic operational principles. These would ensure sufficient information, public procedures, democratic participation and a rational tax regulation and compensation system.

"The central government should expand the right of all local administrations to join the policy making process of environmental protection. Meantime, we have to unify the government's Environmental Protection Administration to efficiently execute policy," Chen said.

In addition, Chen stressed there was not a "zero-sum game" between economics and environmental concerns. By this he meant conservation of the environment did not need to be at the expense of economic progress.

"Economic development is just like an artery, while environmental protection is like a vein. Humans can not live with arteries alone," Chen said.

"Therefore we need a Ministry of Environmental Resources to handle this aspect, while the government makes economic policy," Chen said.

Chen advocated what he called the "Five R's," or spiritual measures to help create a win-win situation for environmental protection and economic development. The five R's are: Reduce (wastage of resources), Reuse, Recycle, Regenerate and Reject.

"The government should offer incentives to encourage all industries to obey environmental protection regulations and develop low-consumption and low-pollution energy sources that can create high output value.

"Therefore we need a Basic Law for Environmental Protection to regulate the rights and responsibilities of governmental organizations. More importantly, we have to engage in drawing up concrete goals for Taiwan's future so that the economy and environmental protection can both take place" Chen said.

To enhance his reformist image, Chen invited a group of children to join his press conference yesterday. He joined hands with them while promising to "provide a better environment" if the DPP wins the presidential election.

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