About 200 Yunlin County residents yesterday burned bundles of straw in front of the legislature to protest the government's plan to build the nation's first biomass power plant in their county.
"We have lost patience with government officials and the plant's builder, as they have disregarded our appeals that an environmental impact assessment be performed for the plant," said Chou Shih-lung (
The Ministry of Economic Affairs selected Hueilai Village as the final site for the biomass power plant this May and broke ground for the project shortly afterward. The start of construction came two years after the government decided to develop the nation's biomass energy capacity.
Since then, village residents have staged protests against the plan.
But Chou said that the Yunlin County Government only agreed to temporarily suspend construction.
"They failed to gain approval from residents and then decided to resume work," he said.
The protesters were led by Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Yin Lin-in (
Yunlin County, which is known for its rice, oranges, garlic and peanuts, among other produce, is a typical agricultural county, with 68 percent of the county being farmland.
Given that Yunlin County Commissioner Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬), a member of the Democratic Progressive Party, won the commissioner election last year with the promise that she would build the county into an "Agriculture Capital," there is no point in the government establishing a power plant in the county, Yin said.
Yin said that many assume that the power plant plan was a result of collusion between government officials and businesses, and said that prosecutors should look into the plant, for which the government has appropriated NT$400 million (US$12 million) for its establishment.
Chang Tzu-chien (