Tue, Sep 18, 2012 - Page 4 News List

Ban expansion by Formosa: groups

CAUSE FOR CONCERN:According to a survey report, air pollutants emitted by the naphtha cracker could have a range of negative effects on the human body

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Legislators and environmental and health activists in Taipei yesterday call on the Environmental Protection Administration to stop the expansion of the Formosa Plastics Group’s naphtha cracker in Yunlin County’s Mailiao Township.

Photo: Chien Jung-feng, Taipei Times

Members of environmental protection and medical groups yesterday said the Formosa Plastics Group’s (台塑) naphtha cracker in Yunlin County’s Mailiao Township (麥寮) has emitted excessive amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and should therefore be banned from further expansion.

Taiwan Water Resources Protection Union and the Changhua Medical Alliance for Public Affairs made the remarks at a press conference co-hosted by Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers Liu Chien-kuo (劉建國) and Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇), urging the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) not to proceed with a vote-by-mail decision process on a re-evaluation of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the naphtha cracker’s expansion project.

The groups said the EIA meeting on Sept. 7 discussed the re-evaluation of the plant’s air pollution control. Data provided by the Yunlin County Government on the plant’s VOC emission level was seriously underestimated, adding that the level reported was an estimate, not an actual measured value.

The estimated value of 4,341 tonnes per year calculated this month has already surpassed the permitted limit of 4,302 tonnes per year, based on the original EIA report conclusion, said Wu Li-hui (吳麗慧), a member of the alliance, urging the EIA meeting to verify the actual emission values and to reject the proposed expansion.

Yunlin Environmental Protection Union board member Lin Hui-mei cited an epidemiological survey report conducted by Chan Chang-chuan (詹長權), a professor at National Taiwan University’s Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, which showed that air pollutants emitted by the plant may have negative effects on the liver, lung, kidney, blood and immune system of residents.

Due to a filibuster staged by members of civic environmental groups who opposed the proposal, the Sept. 7 meeting ended without a conclusion on the case.

The EPA later said if the EIA meetings are interrupted again and end without a conclusion, it would consider allowing committee members to vote by mail.

In response, Thomas Chan (詹順貴), an attorney who has worked closely with environmental groups, alleged the vote-by-mail method was illegal, arguing that conclusions drawn by an EIA meeting should be based on a council system and that the committee members should be allowed to discuss the case thoroughly before making any decisions.

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