Sat, Jan 07, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Activists say lawmaker has ulterior motives

By Jenny Chou  /  STAFF REPORTER

Representatives from the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union yesterday protest against Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hsu Shu-po with a poster featuring his photo during a press conference.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

Environmental activists yesterday called Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hsu Shu-po's (許舒博) bluff, saying that the real motive behind his claims that Yunling County residents were at risk of contracting cancers from drinking underground water was to push for the construction of the Hushan reservoir.

"In 2004, underground water was used by 18 percent of the Taiwanese population. If there were problems with the water quality, I'm sure this fact would have been revealed by tests conducted by water companies," Taiwan Environmental Protection Union Convener Sam Lin (林聖崇) said at a press conference yesterday.

He said that according to Environmental Protection Administration investigations, the water supply in Yunlin complied 100 percent with safety regulations.

Environmental groups called for the budget for the reservoir's construction to be frozen ,saying that it posed both geological and ecological dangers.

"Ever since the September 21 earthquake, there has been an accumulation of sand deposits. This will fall into the reservoir, polluting the water source. Look at what happened to Chaoling lake," said Taiwan Ecology Academy General Secretary Chen Bing-heng (陳秉亨). "Furthermore, building a reservoir will also increase subsidence in the area."

Chen added that the construction of a reservoir would disturb the habitat of a number of plant and bird species, including the Pitta brachyurs, a protected species.

Chen said that the interests of the residents of Yunlin were being sacrificed for industrial purposes, saying that only 200,000 to 240,000 tonnes of the proposed reservoir's daily supply of 690,000 tonnes of water would be going to the residents.

According to Chen, plans to build two more industrial sites in Yunlin are also in the offing.

The initial impact assessment for the construction of the Hushan reservoir was conducted before the Sept. 21, 1999 earthquake. Environmental groups are asking for a re-evaluation to be conducted, in view of geological concerns that have arisen since then.

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