Tue, Nov 20, 2007 - Page 2 News List

EPA conditionally approves Tainan's Tree Valley Park

RESUBMISSION Tainan County Commissioner Su Huan-chih said he was pleased with the verdict, although it was `six months overdue'

By Meggie Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday conditionally passed the environment impact assessment (EIA) for Tainan County's Tree Valley Park (樹谷園區), a 247 hectare TFT-LCD industrial park that could potentially create at least 10,000 jobs and NT$300 billion (US$9.3 billion) in revenue.

The plan was rejected by the last environmental impact committee on grounds that it competed with agricultural water supplies and posed air pollution and flooding threats.

The park, located west of the Southern Taiwan Science Park (南部科學工業園區) in Tainan County, was first proposed by the Tainan County Government who later entrusted the Chimei Group as its developer.

In 2004 the plan received approval from its EIA to host downstream display manufacturers.

"However, since many downstream corporations moved to China, the design of the park was modified to host middle-and upper-stream corporations such as polarizers, glass substrates and TFT-LCD manufacturers," said Edward Huang (黃光輝), director-general of the EPA's comprehensive planning department, adding that because of the change in scale and productivity an EIA resubmission was filed.

Tainan County Commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智) and his team said yesterday that although the verdict was "six months overdue," they were pleased with the results.

"The EIA was passed on several conditions to ensure the rights of local farmers as well as the health of nearby residents," Huang said.

The conditions included agreements to minimally affect the agricultural water supply, to reduce productivity when the air pollution index exceeds EPA standards, to evaluate health risks for nearby residents and to establish a supervision committee that monitors Tree Valley's compliance to the above EPA regulations.

In response, Taiwan Environmental Protection Union Chairwoman Gloria Hsu (徐光蓉) told the Taipei Times that "the ruling may as well be unconditional."

"Look at [Formosa Plastic's] Sixth Naphtha Cracker Plant," she said. "In the proposal they said the water usage would be 257,000 tonnes daily, but after the construction they upped the number to 350,000, and the EPA still gave them the green light."

"History may repeat itself with Tree Valley," she said.

"Su is a law professional, but he is leading the [Tainan] Government in breaking the law," she said, citing the committee's original veto to Tree Valley partially "because Chimei started the park's construction before the EIA was passed."

"We also voted against it because the air pollution capacity in the area had already reached saturation with the Southern Taiwan Science Park, and because the construction would increase flooding risks to nearby neighborhoods," she said.

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