Tue, Oct 17, 2006 - Page 2 News List

EPA budgets are unfrozen

OBJECTION Only the budget for the Environmental Science and Technology Parks failed to to pass after two legislators opposed their funding

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The legislative Sanitation, Environment and Social Welfare Committee yesterday unfroze many of the budgets assigned to the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) for the current fiscal year.

However, the budget for the Environmental Science and Technology Parks -- approximately NT$400 million (US$12 million) -- failed to pass as two legislators continue to oppose their funding.

The previous legislative session had ended with the committee freezing the budget for 13 items, including the administration's personnel costs, technology research, waste disposal, air pollution control, soil and underground water conservation plans and Environmental Science and Technology Parks. The total amount budgeted for these items was up to NT$4 billion (US$120 million).

In the last session the committee divided the 13 items into three categories. Each would be reviewed one at a time in the current session.

EPA Minister Chang Kow-long (張國龍) attended the committee yesterday and appealed to the members of the administration about the urgency with which the budget needed to be released.

"Many crucial environmental protection projects were forced to stop because of shortfalls in funding," Chang said, "This administration will eventually suffer for being unable to execute them."

Chang said that the failure to secure funding for the projects will force the administration to break contracts that have already been signed with potential investors.

Yesterday the committee approved the budget for 12 items after negotiations among members.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmaker Hou Tsai-feng (侯彩鳳) and Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Lee Chen-nan (李鎮楠) opposed continued funding for the Environmental Science and Technology Parks on the grounds that they have not attracted as many investors as expected.

The committee decided that the two legislators will negotiate with the administration in private sessions over the issue.

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