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Fri, May 26, 2000 - Page 3 News List

`Father of anti-nuclear activists' singing a new tune

JOIN THE PACK Since becoming an official, Lin Yun-yi has distanced himself from his past anti-nuclear activity


Environmental Protection Administration chief Lin Yun-yi (林俊義) said yesterday that he could no longer be counted on as an opponent of nuclear energy.

"In the past, my opposition to nuclear energy was a way of opposing totalitarianism. Since totalitarian rule has disappeared, I can take the stance of not being opposed [to nuclear energy]," Lin said during a meeting of the Legislative Yuan's Sanitation, Environment and Social Welfare Committee yesterday.

Lin was responding to Chiang Yi-wen (江綺雯), a KMT legislator, who forced Lin to come clean on the controversial issue of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (核四).

Chiang asked Lin if he would resign because of his environmental ideals if the Ministry of Economic Affairs decided to continue the construction of the plant.

Lin said he would not, because the procedure of policy-making in democratic politics is not the product of any individual insisting on his own opinions.

Lin's statement disappointed anti-nuclear legislators.

"You might still remember that you were called the `Father of anti-nuclear activists' (反核之父). And I have to say that as a college student, speeches you made years ago on conservation issues did enlighten me," said Jao Yung-ching (趙永清), a KMT legislator who has a reputation for promoting environmental issues.

Jao disagreed with Lin, arguing that the situation had not changed.

"The dictatorship still exists because the public is still kept in the dark about things; there are still administrative power struggles and departmental egoism, in addition to an overwhelming scientific hegemony," Jao said.

Anti-nuclear activists echoed Jao's remarks.

"How could he say that dictatorship has disappeared? I haven't seen any new public policy-making procedures taken up by the new Ministry of Economic Affairs for reviewing the controversial plant project," said Lai Wei-chieh (賴偉傑), secretary-general of the Green Citizen's Action Alliance (綠色公民行動聯盟).

Lai said the Alliance would visit the economic affairs ministry next week with local residents from Kungliao (貢寮) township, Taipei County, where the fourth plant is located, to fight for public participation in policy-making.

Lin made his comments yesterday just as his former anti-nuclear comrades from the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union were presenting a petition to the Control Yuan for a comprehensive investigation of the divisive nuclear power issue.

Members from the environmental union -- one of the oldest anti-nuclear groups in Taiwan -- pressed for a continuing investigation of two censures that were given for not completing environmental impact assessments on the plant.

"Making a statement like this really hurts our feelings," said Shih Shin-min (施信民), former head of the union.

"I agree with what Legislator Jao said because we still see a monopoly of energy in Taiwan," Shih said.

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