Fri, Oct 29, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Assessment to determine Kuokuang site

Staff Writer, with CNA

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) will await the final result of an environmental impact assessment before deciding whether to change the site of the controversial Kuokuang Petrochemical Park, Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) said yesterday.

Shih said the site of the proposed park has been changed a number of times, with the location last shifted from Yunlin County to Changhua County, based on a proposal by the Changhua County Government.

Before that, the ministry had also considered Pingtung and Kaohsiung counties as possible sites, the minister said during a hearing held by the legislature’s Economics Committee on the project.

The project involves building the country’s eighth naphtha cracker on a plot of tidal land in Changhua County’s Dacheng Township (大城) area.

Environmentalists strongly oppose the plan, arguing that the facility would cause irreversible damage to local environment and threaten the livelihoods of local farmers and fishermen.

Also at the legislative hearing, Taiwan Environmental Protection Union Changhua Division director Tsai Chia-yang (蔡嘉陽) called it a “mistake” to try to build a petrochemical park at one of the country’s most important -agricultural and fisheries capitals.

The designated site is also home to a major wetland of great conservation value, Tsai said.

Addressing these concerns, Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Wu-hsiung (陳武雄) said his council would demand that comprehensive assessments be made before construction begins to minimize its impact on the agricultural and fishing sectors.

On concerns that underground water might be extracted for use at the future petrochemical park, which could lead to land subsidence, Shih said the park would not do so because underground water is insufficient to meet the high demand for water parks.

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