Tue, Dec 01, 2009 - Page 2 News List

EPA responds to local fisherman's Erlin criticisms

By Vincent Y. chao  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday responded to statements made by Lin Lien-chung (林連宗), a fisherman living near Erlin, Changhua County, where the development of the fourth expansion of Central Taiwan Science Park has been proposed.

The letter — published last week by the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) — highlighted the concerns of local residents that the development would result in large amounts of pollution contaminating nearby farmland, adversely affecting the living conditions of the area’s farmers and fishermen.

Lin said the water requirements for the science park would overwhelm Erlin’s underground reservoirs and increase subsidence, while the polluted water it produced would harm fishing stocks.

Officials from the EPA said there were multiple factual errors in Lin’s statements and that the science park development should not have a major effect on the area’s environment.

Instead, the agency said that science parks were an important cornerstone of the nation’s economic development as they were estimated to have contributed about NT$1.8 trillion (US$56 billion) — or about 15 percent of GDP in 20007.

The agency passed the project’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) last month, despite dozens of local residents protesting in Taipei.

It stressed that companies and factories that are relocating to the Erlin Science Park would first have to fulfill guidelines set out in REACH — EU regulations on the safe use and disposal of chemicals, which the agency says is one of the most stringent worldwide.

Of the 160,000 tonnes of water that the project is estimated to require daily, the EPA said the majority would come from fixing leaks in existing water pipes, redirecting water resources from agriculture and creating a long term sustainable water plan that also resolved Erlin’s land subsidence problem.

The agency said that it was currently undertaking studies to determine if waste water could be reused by nearby industry or released in a manner that minimized the impact on nearby fishermen.

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