Sun, Aug 21, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Environmentalists vow to fight Kuokuang relocation

Staff Writer, with CNA

An environmental group voiced its opposition yesterday to the relocation of a controversial petrochemical complex, saying that it would fight any such move to the end.

Shih Yueh-ying (施月英), -secretary-general of the Changhua Environmental Protection Union, said she “could not accept the complex being located anywhere in central Taiwan, whether it is a scaled-down version or not.”

At issue is a facility operated by Kuokuang Petrochemcial Technology Co, which scrapped a project in a wetland area of Changhua County in April in the wake of a government decision against the proposal. The government’s decision came after environmental impact assessment teams raised concerns that the project would consume too much water and generate large amounts of pollution in the ecologically sensitive area.

CPC Corp Taiwan, Kuokuang’s biggest shareholder, recently said it was considering setting up a complex overseas. In Taiwan, the company’s operations will be “slimmed down” to produce “chemicals for specific use” and it is considering establishing operations in the Changpin Industrial Park or Taichung Harbor. A final decision will be made at the end of the year.

Shih said that “central Taiwan has become a highly polluted area. In view of its upgrade to municipality status at the end of last year, it would be inappropriate for Taichung to house such a highly polluting industry.”

“If a slimmed-down Kuokuang complex were to be set up in central Taiwan, the environmental groups that called for the scrapping of the Changhua proposal would join forces with groups opposed to the Central Taiwan Science Park in Greater Taichung to fight any such move,” Shih said.

Shih said that Taichung currently has a thermal power plant and that the ash it produces affects the air quality in the area. If a highly polluting petrochemical industry is added to the mix, pollution would be even more serious, she said.

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