Thu, Aug 16, 2012 - Page 4 News List

Hazardous ashes at planned plant prompt protest

BLOWING IN THE WIND:An environmental protection group has urged authorities to reject Formosa Group’s Mailiao naphtha cracker over by-product concerns

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Water Conservation Alliance spokesperson Chen Jiau-hua, left, leads a protest rally in Taipei yesterday to highlight anger at the environmental impact assessment for the planned expansion of Formosa Group’s naphtha cracker in Yunlin County’s Mailiao Township.

Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times

Activists urged the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to reject the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the planned expansion of the Formosa Group’s naphtha cracker in Yunlin County’s Mailiao Township (麥寮), before an assessment meeting to discuss a modification comparison chart about an ash pond at the plant was held at the EPA yesterday.

Taiwan Water Conservation Alliance spokesperson Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) said the modification of the ash pond should be considered illegal and the EIA report should be rejected because fly ash and bottom ash are listed as industrial waste by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and cannot be reused for soil improvement substances or subgrade filling.

However, the developer used the confusing term “mixed plaster cast” to include the fly ash and bottom ash produced at the plant and said in its report that it considers the by-product reusable.

He added that if the EIA allows the company to do so, the public should be concerned that the hazardous types of ash may end up in farm soil or contaminate water resources.

“The issue discussed in today’s meeting is very simple; it is about our objection to a part of the written conclusion from the previous meeting that did not match with the meeting’s conclusions,” said Wu Ching-ping (吳清萍) director of Formosa Petrochemical Corp’s Department of Safety, Health and Environmental Engineering.

“So we have proposed to have it corrected without making any revision to the EIA report’s substantial contents,” he added.

The firm had requested the deletion of the wording “the ashes produced from the [nation’s] sixth naphtha cracker project has not been designated a by-product by the industry competent authority” from the previous EIA meeting, saying that the sentence was unrelated to the assessment.

The EPA’s Department of Waste Management said the department had always identified the ashes as industrial waste and that the by-product should be managed according to the regulations, but the identification in this case should be undertaken by the ministry.

The meeting concluded that the controversial wording in the conclusion, should be deleted, saying it was irrelevant to the substantial content of the EIA. However, it also asked the EPA to submit a request that the ministry determine whether the ashes produced by the plant are a by-product or industrial waste.

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