Environmental activists and lawmakers across party lines yesterday urged the Taitung County Government to stop the environmental impact assessment (EIA) on the Miramar Resort, scheduled to take place today, and called on it to demolish the resort building, which has already been declared illegal by the Supreme Administrative Court in Kaohsiung in February.
“It’s so ridiculous that the Taitung County Government wants to hold an EIA meeting to review the Miramar Resort building project, because an EIA meeting is supposed to take place before a project starts, but the building is already there,” Liu Chiung-hsi (劉炯錫), head of Taiwan Environmental Protection Union’s Taitung Office, told a press conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei. “In addition, the project’s approval from its previous EIA as well as its building permit have both been revoked by various courts, so this building is illegal and it should be demolished before a new EIA is conducted.”
The Miramar Resort building project — located on a beach in Taitung County’s Beinan Township (卑南) — has been a highly controversial project since it began in 2004.
The Miramar Group began constructing the resort in October 2005 after being granted a construction permit by the county government.
Although the entire resort — including the hotel building and other facilities — occupies an area of 59,956m2, the county government had initially allowed the Miramar Group to divide the project site into different areas, so that no single area is more than 1 hectare because the law requires any construction project over that size to go through an EIA process.
However, in 2007, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) disagreed with the division, ruled that an EIA had to be conducted and that the already-started construction was illegal and that it had to be stopped until it received approval from an EIA.
Several court rulings following the EPA announcement revoked Miramar’s construction permit and EIA result, and ruled that the county government should order a stop to the construction. However, the construction continued because the county government argued that the permit was still valid until a final court ruling was handed down.
However, when the final court ruling to revoke the EIA result for the project and declare the building illegal was handed down by the Supreme Administrative Court in February, construction still continued and the county government said the project had been declared illegal due to “procedural issues.”
To resolve these “procedural issues,” the county government decided to conduct another EIA today, for a building project that has already been completed.
“I can guarantee you that the Miramar Resort will pass the EIA tomorrow [Saturday],” Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Wen-yen (邱文彥) said. “It’s so obvious that the county government sides with the Miramar Group, otherwise, why would it be in such a hurry to hold an EIA meeting on Saturday, which is a holiday?”
He said that since the Miramar Resort is located within a traditional Amis area, “the local Amis tribe should be consulted, as stipulated by the Aboriginal Basic Act [原住民族基本法] .”
“I’m not against developments in Taitung, but they should be sustainable ones,” he said. “The development of Taitung should be based on respecting history, culture, ecology and the environment.”