Wed, Mar 20, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Stop Miramar resort: environmental groups

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Protesters outside the Environmental Protection Administration in Taipei yesterday display photographs showing damage to the beach caused by the construction of the Miramar Resort in Cihtong Township, Taitung County.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

Calling for the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to suspend the execution of the latest, “illegal” environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the Miramar Resort Village in Taitung County, a dozen representatives from nine civic environmental groups yesterday presented their requests in front of the administration.

Organized by Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan (CET), the groups said the Supreme Administrative Court had already reached a final verdict which declared the EIA conclusion of the beachfront Miramar Resort project in Taitung County’s Shanyuan Bay (杉原灣) invalid earlier last year, but the local government neglected the ruling and held another controversial EIA meeting that gave approval in December last year.

The groups said that because the latest EIA meeting was conducted illegally and Miramar said it would commence trial operations in May, they said they had already filed a complaint to the EPA on March 5 and that they were making another formal request yesterday morning asking the administration to put a stop to what they called “the worst development case in the history of Taiwan’s environmental issues.”

“It was an invalid EIA meeting ... and if it is allowed, it will set a bad precedent for future cases, demolishing the EIA system,” said Thomas Chan (詹順貴), an attorney affiliated with the Primordial Law Firm who works closely with environmental groups.

“I believe the EIA conclusion will be withdrawn again if the lawsuit goes to administrative court,” he said.

Chan said that the conclusion was illegal because the case was not reviewed at the central government level, as it should have been according to administrative procedures, the review committee members did not avoid conflicts of interest, the case was evaluated on a continuing basis rather than starting fresh and the conclusion gained conditional approval but lacked provisos, he said.

Taiwan Environmental Protection Union academic committee convener Gloria Hsu (徐光蓉) accused the EPA of allowing developers to apply to alter the restrictions of the EIA’s conditional approval and urged the Miramar Resort Village to stop destroying the beach.

Aboriginal folk singer Takanow (達卡鬧), the convener of an alliance against the Miramar project, said the alliance was worried that a domino effect will lead to more such development projects along Taiwan’s east coast bypassing their EIAs, and said local residents want jobs compatible with environmental protection, unlike the ones provided by the resort.

He and Lin Shu-ling (林淑玲), an Amis Aborigine who lives in the area, said that some local people are planning a social movement encompassing environmental and Aboriginal issues along the east coast in a walk from Taitung County to Taipei next month.

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