The controversial fourth phase of the Central Taiwan Science Park in Erlin Township (二林), Changhua County, will be rejected if the park’s administration fails to present a convincing case to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) panel, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday.
The newly appointed EIA committee met for the first time yesterday for a four-hour session.
The plan to introduce high-polluting industries — such as electro-optical and semiconductors manufacturers — to the park has run into strong opposition from the Yunlin and Changhua county governments, EIA panelists, local residents and environmentalists.
Opponents say plans to discharge treated wastewater from the park into the Choshuei River (濁水) would contaminate nearby farmland.
“Yunlin County is the ‘rice stockhouse’ of Taiwan, and our people have used the Choshuei River to water our paddies and watermelon farms for generations. We also supply a third of the nation’s vegetables,” Yunlin County Councilor Liu Jhien-kuo (劉建國) said.
“If treated wastewater is emitted 1km south of the Zihciang Bridge (自強) as planned, not only will farms in Erlun (二崙), Lunbei (崙背), Hsiluo (西螺), and Mailiao (麥寮) be contaminated, coastal oyster farms will also be tainted,” Liu said.
The park says the wastewater will be diluted by river, but Yunlin County Commissioner Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬) said park officials have “possibly forgotten that the river’s water level differs dramatically in the wet and dry seasons.”
“When the river flow averages 18.24 cubic meters per second [CMS] in the winter [versus up to 318 CMS in the summer], can you say that the Choshuei River has the capacity to process treated wastewater?” she said.
A panel member raised concerns about the water and electricity demands of the proposed expansion.
“With industries like semiconductor and electro-optical manufacturers, a large amount of water and electricity will be needed … The nearby Central Taiwan Science Park and Mailiao Industrial Park are already using a lot of electricity, where is the extra electricity going to come from?” the panel member said.
Taiwan Envrionmental Protection Union Changhua branch director Shih Yue-ying (施月英) said the park has contradicted itself by claiming the expansion plan would not aggrevate the severe land subsidence problem in Changhua because it would not tap underground water resources.
“The Taiwan Water Corporation says 98 percent of tap water in Changhua County comes from underground sources. If they do not use underground water, where will the water come from?” Shih said.
Since the expansion plan has been reviewed four times without receiving the go-ahead, the EIA panel said the park would have one more chance to address the complaints. However, park officials must hold a meeting with local residents to explain the project before the next EIA panel meeting takes place, the panel said.
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