Fri, Sep 13, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Reservoir land laws changed

NOT CLEAR:Amendments to development rules lack specifics in terms of how a firm would be categorized as ‘low-polluting’ and allowed to operate at reservoirs, critics said

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Businesses that generate low amounts of pollution will be allowed to establish factories at 21 reservoirs, following an amendment to the Standards for Determining Specific Items and Scope of Environmental Impact Assessments for Development Activities (開發行為應實施環評認定標準), the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday.

EPA Comprehensive Planning Department director-general Yeh Jiunn-horng (葉俊宏) said of the nation’s 96 reservoirs, 75 would be listed under category 1, which were determined by the Ministry of the Interior as important reservoirs used entirely for the supply of water to the general public. The remaining 21 reservoirs, listed under category 2, would be opened to factories of low-pollution businesses, Yeh said, adding that they do not need to be reviewed by the environmental impact assessment (EIA) committee.

Low-polluting businesses are already in existence at category 1 reservoirs, and rules regulating the businesses at these reservoirs remain unchanged.

Chen Chiao-hua (陳椒華), spokeswoman for the Taiwan Alliance for the Protection of Water Resources, said that they strongly disagreed with the amendment, and with related amendments at the Council of Agriculture and ministry. She said they were scheduled to protest at the ministry tomorrow.

Chen said that the amendment lacked specifics in the standards that the EPA would use to determine the types of factories allowed to exist at category 2 reservoirs.

She said that factories producing light bulbs or fiberglass are not low-pollution businesses, and they could potentially generate massive pollution. Though the water in Chichi Diversion Weir and Tsengwen Reservoir is mainly used to irrigate farmland, Chen said part of it is used to supply drinking water. The water could be polluted with heavy metals if light bulb or fiberglass factories are allowed to establish at the reservoirs.

Yeh said the Shihmen Reservoir, the Feitsuei Reservoir and the Tsengwen Reservoir are category 1, with regulations governing the development of land at these reservoirs stricter under the changes.

All development cases involving high-pollution businesses, regardless of the size of the area, must be reviewed by the EIA committee.

However, Yeh said the Dapu Reservoir in Hsinchu County, Toushe Reservoir in Nantou County and Fongshan Reservoir in Greater Kaohsiung would be listed as category 2.

Except for 50 types of factories that are banned by the EPA from entering the category 2 reservoirs, factories producing pastries, clothes and frozen food are set to benefit from the amendment.

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