Sat, May 18, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Review committee knocks back referendum proposal

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan Environmental Protection Union yesterday lodged a protest over the Referendum Review Committee’s rejection of a proposal to hold a local referendum to decide whether fuel rods should be inserted into the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮).

The committee’s decision to reject the proposal shows its disregard for the public’s right to be heard, the group said.

The proposal, endorsed by more than 50,000 New Taipei City residents, was initiated by former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and the union.

Although the proposal gained approval from New Taipei City’s referendum review committee earlier last month, the Executive Yuan’s Referendum Review Committee rejected the proposal on Thursday evening, saying that the issue “concerns energy policy affecting the nation’s electricity supply, power reserves, industrial sectors, environment and other important matters” and is “an important national policy matter not suitable for a local referendum.”

At the protest yesterday in Taipei, the union said that people living within a 50km radius of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant should have first priority on deciding whether it should go into operation because if a nuclear disaster occurred it would directly affect those people.

Taiwan Environmental Protection Union founding chairperson Shih Hsin-min (施信民) said the union deeply regrets that the Referendum Review Committee has “trampled on the voices of more than 50,000 local residents and deprived millions of people of their right to decide the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant’s fate.”

As an alternative approach, union member Kao Cheng-yan (高成炎) said Lu or New Taipei City counselors could apply for an administrative remedy through administrative litigation or by requesting a constitutional interpretation.

He added that the union would initiate a national petition which it hopes will attract 91,000 signatures before the end of this month.

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