Thu, Feb 13, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Beach's erosion blamed on wharf

DESTRUCTION PROJECT The tremendous loss of sand at the once-famous Fulong Beach has been linked to the construction of the controversial Fourth Nuclear Power Plant nearby

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

DPP Legislator Eugene Jao, front, displays an old picture of Fulong Beach during a press conference yesterday. Area residents are demanding that the government look into environmental damage caused by the construction of a nearby wharf.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMESN

The coastal erosion at Fulong Beach in northern Taiwan can be attributed to the construction of a nearby wharf, designed to accommodate heavy machines on their way to the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Kungliao, Taipei County, according to a Cabinet's task force investigating the case.

Yang Chao-yueh (楊肇岳) -- an oceanography professor from National Taiwan University and one of the professors assisting the Cabinet to investigate the case -- said yesterday that after conducting field investigations, the task force had confirmed the link between the loss of sand at the beach and the construction of the wharf.

"We will hand in the conclusions to Premier Yu Shyi-kun, via a committee in charge of the case, to showing why it is urgent to halt the construction," Yang said at a press conference held at the Legislative Yuan yesterday.

The committee is composed of officials from Cabinet-level agencies, academics and environmental groups.

"Based on the conclusions, we would strongly suggest that the premier halt the construction," said committee member Shih Shin-min (施信民) of the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (台灣環保聯盟).

It is expected that the premier will respond to the committee's suggestions in mid-February.

The investigation was prompted by an urgent demand from environmental and conservation groups in mid-January. At the time, Yu promised to decide the wharf's future within one month, once the relationship between the erosion and the construction of the wharf was determined.

Local residents claimed that two thirds of the sand on the beach has disappeared since 1999, when the construction was launched.

Shih said the nuclear plant project was designed more than a decade ago, at a time when the possible environmental impact of such a construction project was neglected.

In September 1991, the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) gave conditional approval to the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the nuclear power plant project.

When the EIA Act was put into effect at the end of 1994, environmentalists began highlighting what they said were questionable aspects of the assessment conducted by the AEC and called for a new, comprehensive evaluation to be conducted by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA).

In response to that request, the EPA established a committee to monitor environmental conditions near the construction site -- but did not order a new environmental impact assessment.

"The loss of sand is just one example demonstrating the poor design of the project and the government's carelessness," Shih said.

DPP Legislator Eugene Jao (趙永清) said it was shameful that the plant's builder, Taiwan Power Co (Taipower), had continued to deny that wharf construction was causing the erosion and instead told local residents that the loss of sand could be attributed to devastation caused by typhoons.

DPP lawmakers Lai Chin-lin (賴勁麟) and Chen Chao-lung (陳朝龍) said that the vanishing beach was ironic in light of the fact that the government has vowed to double the number of foreign tourists by promoting Taiwan's beautiful environment through its six-year national development program.

The lawmakers said that erosion -related problems near many wharves in Taiwan could be attributed to a "jetty effect," which depletes sand on nearby beaches.

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