Thu, Oct 23, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Chang takes over as official head of EPA

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) finally has a new leader, sort of.

Chang Juu-en (張祖恩), acting administrator of the EPA, was named yesterday as the man to officially take over the helm from Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), who quit three weeks ago over differences with the Cabinet.

In promoting Chang to the post, Premier Yu Shyi-kun told a press conference yesterday that Chang is someone who is not only an accomplished academic but also an experienced civil servant.

Chang, a 52-year-old native of Changhwa County, was the associate dean of the College of Engineering at National Cheng Kung University between 1999 and 2001 and executive secretary of the Ministry of Education's environmental protection committee between 1997 and 1998.

He was a professor and chairman of the Department of Environmental Engineering of the National Cheng Kung University between 1994 and 1996. He served as the deputy director general of the EPA between 1989 and 1990.

Previously, Chang was an associate professor of the National Cheng Kung University's Department of Environmental Engineering between 1982 and 1989.

He also holds a Ph. D degree in civil engineering from Japan's Tohoku University. His areas of specialization are solid-waste treatment, wastewater treatment and environmental engineering.

Yu expressed his gratitude to Chang's predecessor. Hau resigned earlier this month because he felt his views on referendums concerning environmental matters were incompatible with those of the Cabinet.

"The contribution he made during his two-year stint will be remembered and highly appreciated," Yu said.

According to Yu, he asked Chang to serve as the EPA's acting head on Oct. 3 when he approved Hau's resignation. Yu also invited Chang over to his Taipei residence on Oct. 6 for a one-hour chat.

"I asked him to give me a couple of weeks to think over the problem. I made up my mind last week and obtained the endorsement of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) last Thursday during my weekly visit to the Presidential Office," Yu said.

Chang yesterday vowed to push ahead with the policies made during Hau's tenure.

"We didn't come up with the policies overnight. Instead, every single program and initiative is well thought-out and can stand the test of time and public criticism," Chang said.

While Hau quit over his differences he had with the Cabinet, Chang said that the Cabinet and the EPA should get along instead of fighting each other.

"We should let more people participate in the decision-making process, especially when we're doing environmental impact assessment (EIA) studies, because public opinion and professionalism should be compatible and none is superior to the other," Chang said.

Asked about his stance on referendums concerning public development projects -- especially projects which have already passed the EIA stage -- Chang said that the government should take the initiative to offer the public the information it needs.

"We're more than willing to negotiate with the public, listen to their voices and minimize any possible adverse impact any project may have on the community," Chang said.

Yu said that almost all issues at the EPA should be decided by a referendum, except for those areas such as salary, budget, taxation and personnel.

Also exempt from referendums should be those development projects that have been vetoed after the environmental-impact study has been completed, Yu said.

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