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Tue, Mar 06, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Activists pan new Cabinet appointees

SKEPTICISM Anti-nuclear leaders lambasted the new heads of the Atomic Energy Council and the Environmental Protection Administration as being ill-suited for their roles


Environmentalists said yesterday that the Cabinet reshuffle was a further blow to the anti-nuclear movement, saying that the newly appointed heads of both the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) and the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) were not the right people for the jobs.

Activists said that they were opposed to incoming AEC chairman Hu Chin-piao (胡錦標) because, as a previous holder of the post, he -- in their eyes -- improperly issued the construction license for the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (核四) in March 1999. Hu was chairman of the AEC from 1996 to May last year.

"He totally ignored Taipower's (台電) change of the power output of the reactors from 1,000 megawatts each to 1,350 megawatts when he issued the license. He did not even ask that Taipower redo its environmental impact assessment [EIA]," said Pan Han-chiang (潘翰疆), deputy secretary-general of the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union.

The Control Yuan censured the Executive Yuan, the AEC, the EPA and Taipower in April 1999 because of the AEC's failure to follow the correct procedures when it issued the license.

In September 1995, the Control Yuan censured seven Cabinet agencies involved with the change in power output of the reactors. But the censure was totally ignored by the Cabinet.

In May 1999, the same seven agencies, including the EPA and the AEC, were again censured by the Control Yuan for failing to address the 1995 censures.

Yesterday, AEC officials said that they welcomed Hu's return, saying that Hu was very familiar with atomic energy-related administrative matters.

Meanwhile, Chou Po-lun (周伯倫), convener of the DPP caucus in the legislature, called upon both Hu and incoming EPA head Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) to deal seriously with the censures.

Activists said Hau was unqualified for the job, having been trained in food science and technology, in which he holds a doctoral degree, rather than environmental science.

Hau currently teaches at the Graduate Institute of Food Science and Technology at National Taiwan University as well as being a legislator and a key New party functionary.

On Sunday, Hau stated that he supported the Cabinet's decision to resume construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.

Pan said that outgoing EPA head Lin Jun-yi (林俊義) was a sacrificial offering in a political struggle.

Lin has been an energetic pioneer in the anti-nuclear movement in Taiwan since the 1980s.

In his well-known book, Opposing Nuclear Energy to Oppose Dictatorship (反核是為了反獨裁), published in 1989, he argued that Taiwan's people had been misinformed by the government about nuclear energy.

During Lin's nine-month leadership of the EPA, he promoted alternative sources of energy, such as solar energy and wind energy.

Accompanied by US oil cleanup experts from Alaska, Lin yesterday inspected the half-sunk Greek cargo ship MV Amorgos, which caused an oil spill in Kenting National Park in southern Taiwan in mid-January.

It was the handling of the oil spill which eventually triggered the Cabinet's reshuffle, leading to Lin's ouster.

"I'll keep going with the oil cleanup work until I step down," Lin said yesterday.

Both the AEC and EPA posts will change hands tomorrow.

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