Wed, Sep 01, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Science park development gets conditional approval

SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTSThe construction of the zone would have to meet regulations concerning water usage, water quality and volatile emissions

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Despite strong opposition from environmental activists, the Environmental Protection Administration’s (EPA) environmental impact assessment (EIA) committee yesterday gave conditional approval to the Phase-3 development project at the Central Taiwan Science Park.

Sixteen committee members who attended the meeting gave their unanimous support to the project, which covers properties between Houli (后里) and Cishing Farm (七星) in Taichung County. No one suggested that the project should be abandoned or put to a second round of review.

Aside from minor revisions to the text, the conclusions reached at the committee generally followed those made by a special taskforce that did a preliminary review of the case. The Central Taiwan Science Park Administration will be required to follow several specific requirements during construction and operations at the Phase-3 zone, including regulating water usage, ambient water quality and emission of volatile organic compounds.

The administration’s decision to host the impact assessment meeting enraged environmental activists, who staged a protest in front of the EPA building in the afternoon and called on the committee to send the Phase-3 development project to a second round of review.

“The Supreme Administrative Court annulled the ruling on the development project, but the EPA was convinced that it would pass the EIA committee at the end of August,” Green Party representative Pan Han-shen (潘翰聲) said, standing in the rain with other activists. “The EIA system is dead and the case will pass today.”

The meeting yesterday was presided over by the Environmental Protection Agency Minister Stephen Shen (沈世宏). Before members of the committee ruled on the case, Shen allowed about 20 representatives from environmental groups, the Central Park Science Administration Workers Union and residents from Houli to voice their concerns.

Mercy on the Earth secretary-general Lee Ken-cheng (李根政) was one of the EIA members who reviewed the case in 2006. He said that although eight EIA members proposed that Phase-3 be sent to a second stage of reviews four years ago, the committee still granted conditional approval to the case. It is unclear whether the EIA members four years ago thoroughly addressed certain concerns, including massive use of farmland, the impact on fishery resources and regulations of air pollutants, Lee said.

He also said there were questions as to whether the science park would commit to not using water reserved for irrigation in the eventuality that the park faced water shortages.

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