Wed, Sep 21, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Access to highway may pollute water

DIRTY WATER Legislators argued that procedures enabling the public to access the Taipei-Ilan highway were unlawful, polluting water in the Shihmen Reservoir

BY JENNY CHOU  /  STAFF REPORTER

A white sedan yesterday approaches the Shihding checkpoint on the Taipei-Ilan highway.

PHOTO: CNA

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源) said yesterday that allowing the public access to the Pinglin (坪林) to Shihding (石碇) section of the Taipei-Ilan highway would cause pollution and potentially lower the water quality in Feitsui Reservoir (翡翠水庫), imitating the recent problems experienced by Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫).

Cho also highlighted that public access should never have been given in the first place, since the motion had not been passed by the highest level of the Bureau of Environmental Inspection.

In the face of accusations that the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC) had followed unlawful procedures in giving the public access to the Pinglin-Shihding section of the freeway, Lee Tai-ming (李泰明), head of the MTC's Department of Railways and Highways, said that the MTC had only proceeded following confirmation by the Bureau of Environmental Inspection's investigation team.

However, according to Hao Wen-bing (郝龍斌), former chief of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the team's recommendations were only informal, as they had not been passed by the highest level of the bureau, therefore making the whole procedure illegal.

Speaking about the EPA investigative team's decision, Chen Hsiung-wen (陳雄文), chief of the EPA's Bureau of Solid Waste management, said that the team had only consented under the agreement that certain conditions were fulfilled.

Hao said, however, that these conditions which included controlling access and tearing down the access route in the event that Feitsui Reservoir was affected were "impossible to fulfill," which the events of the last few days had proved.

Hao added, "If these measures had been possible they would have been performed long ago," explaining that before recent events, the EPA has for the last 7 consecutive terms maintained a strict policy restricting public access to the Pinglin-Shiding section of the Taipei-Ilan highway despite continuous appeals from the MCT.

Waving a letter that former minister of justice Chen Ding-nan (陳定南) had written to the EPA minister, Chang Kuo-lung (張國龍), Cho accused Chen of using his connections in the department to try and influence the decisions of the EPA in a bid to get ahead in the end of year election race.

Cho said, "Chen has endangered the drinking resources of 450,0000 Taipei citizens by his actions."

Chou demanded further investigation by the Control Yuan into the legality of giving the public access to the Pingling-Shihding section of the Taipei-Ilan highway.

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