Tue, Dec 14, 2004 - Page 2 News List

New legislators to tackle environmental concerns

NEW BLOOD The Legislative Yuan is set to be revived by several new legislators who are known for their concern for sustainable environmental development

By Chiu Yu-tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Environmental issues are set to be addressed at the next session of the Legislative Yuan, with some legislative newcomers active in the environmental movement expected to continue fighting for the cause in their new positions. But whether the new legislature will draw up regulations involving sustainable environmental development remains uncertain.

Although environmental issues were all but ignored during legislative campaigning, some incumbent lawmakers are also known for their concern for the environment, such as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislators Eugene Jao (趙永清), DPP Chiu Chuang-chin (邱創進) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hsu Chung-hsiung (徐中雄).

They are all energetic lawmakers and members of the Council for the Promotion of Sustainable Development -- a group formed by lawmakers from across party lines to promote environmental issues. The group on Saturday lost some of its members, such as KMT Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖), DPP Legislator Chou Ching-yu (周清玉) and Chien Lin Whei-jun (錢林慧君) of the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU).

Su Jin-pin (蘇俊賓), an assistant to Hsu, said yesterday that the council will be soon be revived by new legislators, such as Yunlin County Councilor Yin Lin-in (尹伶瑛) of the TSU and Hsinchu County Councilor Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) of the DPP. Both are known for their devotion to anti-incinerator movements at the local level.

"Waste-management policies pertaining to incinerators and landfills for hazardous residues from incinerators will be thoroughly reviewed at the next session," Su said.

Last year, Lin led a demonstration in front of the Hsinchu County Government's offices to protest the building of an incinerator in Chupei, which demonstrators said would be a waste, because there was already an incinerator only 3km away in Hsinchu City. So far, the project has not been finalized.

Yin -- who began her bird conservation campaign in 1999, fighting against the local authority's land-excavation project in the natural habitat of the fairy pitta (八色鳥) in Linnei Township -- is also well known for her accusation about Yunlin County Commissioner Chang Jung-wei's (張榮味) involvement in a waste incinerator project. Support for Yin was also strengthened by Chang's arrest.

Although some political observers attribute her success to the fact that Chang was arrested on the eve of the election, Yin said that the election results demonstrate the courage of many voters.

"Since I first stood up for the fairy pitta five years ago, I've only cared about environmental and social welfare issues, which are crucially important to needy residents," Yin said.

She said that about 60 percent of voters in Yunlin receive only middle-school education and that was why a vote-buying culture has flourished there for years.

Yin's persistent campaigning for bird conservation and environmental protection led her to the positions of village head in 2000, county councilwoman in 2002, and now lawmaker.

She said she was looking forward to working with future colleagues at the Council for the Promotion of Sustainable Development in order to keep questioning the government on policies on waste incineration and water-resources management.

One of Yin's reasons for opposing the building of the incinerator is that it would be built on a site just 1.8km from an area earmarked for the construction of a new water-treatment plant.

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