Tue, Oct 07, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Hau touts EPA professionalism

FAREWELL PARTY Former Environmental Protection Administration head Hau Lung-bin was in tears as he and other officials reminisced and traded compliments

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) chief Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) stressed that the agency's performance is professional at a farewell party thrown by staff members yesterday.

Hau submitted his resignation last Wednesday after Premier Yu Shyi-kun rejected his proposal to disallow referenda on projects if an environmental impact assessment had already been approved.

Hau spent the whole morning yesterday shaking hands with staff members on all 13 floors of the EPA headquarters to express his appreciation for their work.

Since Sept. 13, after an advisory referendum by residents of Pinglin Township, Taipei County indicated the desire of township, residents to have on- and off-ramps to and from Beiyi Freeway, Hau has reiterated the phrases: "public opinion should not be more important than professional opinions" and "the result of an advisory referendum should not overthrow that of an environmental impact assessment."

Yesterday, Hau seized one last chance to complement the EPA on its professionalism, but stuck to his guns.

"The EPA's outstanding performance recently is not because of me. It's of your professionalism," Hau said to the staff members and went on to imply that his policy position on referenda was not wrong.

Hau said that since handling an oil spill caused by the Greek tanker the MV Amorgos near Kenting National Park in January 2001, the EPA has tackled many environmental problems, including the clean-up of illegal dumps contaminated by toxic chemicals, air-pollution control in southern Taiwan, the treatment of polluted rivers and the elimination of the use of disposable utensils and free plastic shopping bags in most stores and eateries nationwide.

Hau said that all staff members are his brothers and sisters because they fought closely with him to face hardship such as dealing with public opposition and facing grillings in the legislature.

"We've demonstrated our resolution to enforce environmental laws with courage," Hau said sobbing.

EPA staff members hung banner reading "a gentlemen fears nothing" at the conference room to stress Hau's professionalism and persistence.

Deputy Administrator Chang Juu-en (張祖恩) told emotional anecdotes of Hau's tenure. Hau cried.

In response to questioning, Yu yesterday said he has not designated a replacement for Hau refusing to confirm media speculation.

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