Sun, Jun 16, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Allow Yilan nuclear referendum: group

WHOSE JURISDICTION?The Environmental Protection League is calling for a constitutional interpretation after the Cabinet said Yilan could not vote on what it called a national issue

By You Ming-chin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Executive Yuan’s rejection of Yilan County’s application for a referendum on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市), has deprived the county’s residents of their rights, and the Council of Grand Justices should look into the legitimacy of the decision, the Environmental Protection League said.

The league tendered a 3,525-signature petition calling on the Yilan County Government to consider holding a local referendum on the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant on May 8.

The county government approved the petition and forwarded the petition to the Executive Yuan for review on May 17.

The Executive Yuan later denied the petition on the grounds that the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant was an issue of national energy policy that affected important national policies, including general electricity coverage to the nation, industrial chains and environmental concerns, and as such, was not within the jurisdiction of locally held referendums.

On Friday, Environmental Protection League chairman Chen Yao-hsing (陳曜顯), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ou-po (陳歐珀) and DPP County Councilor Huang Shih-chao (黃適超) criticized the Executive Yuan’s decision.

Chen said the Executive Yuan was depriving the county’s residents of their rights by making a unilateral decision on the matter, and he suspected that it violated administrative ethics because it had not consulted the Referendum Review Committee on the issue.

Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) filed administrative litigation against the Executive Yuan, the league’s former chairman Chang Chieh-lung (張捷隆) said yesterday, adding that such legal processes would take a long time.

The county government should apply to the Council of Grand Justices for a constitutional interpretation on the issue, Chang said.

Chang added that the nuclear power plant affects environmental protection and public security — both of which were well within the jurisdiction of local authorities — and should therefore be open to referendum by local residents.

County Commissioner Lin Tsung-hsien (林聰賢) of the DPP said that he regretted the Executive Yuan’s decision, adding that the county government would apply for a constitutional interpretation next month.

As for the league’s suggestion that the county government hold its own referendum, Lin said the county already held one several years ago.

More than 60 percent of county residents were against the construction, but the referendum had no legal backing and was not binding, Lin said.

Only through a constitutional interpretation by the Council of Grand Justices to clarify the powers of local government can the county government know what it can or cannot do, Lin said.

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