Mon, Apr 15, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Environmental groups criticize ministry outline

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Following the passing of the first legislative review on the draft organization act for the ministry of environmental resources last week and with the agency’s duties to be settled in inter-party negotiations, several civic environmental groups have criticized the government’s plan, calling it a terrible mess.

After two days of deliberation on the draft act at the Legislative Yuan, the ministry’s name, the rank of its officials and the purpose of establishing the planned ministry were decided.

However, the boundary of its duties and affiliated institutes will be decided through inter-party negotiations because a consensus on these issues was not reached.

Representing five civic groups, Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan, said that the groups were most concerned about the how the act would affect the affiliation of the Forestry Bureau and Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, since the proposal would place the two bodies under the new ministry of agriculture.

The groups criticized the proposal for putting the bodies in charge of forest management into a ministry with different policy goals, which may result in conflicting policy decisions.

They said that there has been a consensus between parties for more than 10 years that forest, water and soil management, which are vital for land conservation, should all be placed under the ministry of environmental resources.

However, now the government is trying to alter the arrangement without even holding a public hearing, the groups said.

Once the issue goes into inter-party negotiations, civic monitoring is no longer possible, the groups said, adding that such issues should not be decided in that manner. More information and suggestions should be gathered from academics and civic groups, the groups said.

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