Thu, Oct 17, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Protesters call upon EPA action to ‘save the nation’

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Several environmentalists yesterday urged that a Strategic Environmental Assessment be conducted by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) before the Ministry of the Interior enacts a draft plan on regional development.

Holding posters with pictures of hillsides and roads damaged by mudslides, about 20 environmentalists gathered in front of the EPA building in Taipei yesterday morning, saying: “Mountains and rivers are being destroyed, Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan [李鴻源] is responsible, the EPA should save the nation.”

They urged the Executive Yuan to withdraw the draft, titled the “National Regional Plan” before its scheduled announcement tomorrow and have the EPA conduct a thorough assessment first to avoid serious environmental damage that may result from enacting it.

Taiwan Water Conservation Alliance spokesperson Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) said the plan on the nation’s land use is a temporary substitute for the proposed national land planning act and requires an assessment because it is a national plan.

She said they are opposed to the plan because it would allow small-scale industrial parks to be established without an environmental assessment because pollution from the facilities could cause direct damage to nearby farmland.

Moreover, the EPA decided to maintain the tap-water quality and quantity protection areas in an Environmental Impact Assessment meeting in 2003, so the ministry should not ease restrictions for development activities in reservoir catchment areas.

Taiwan Tree Protection Alliance convener Chang Mei-hui (張美惠) said although the ministry finally agreed to hold four public hearings on the plan, it is ridiculous that the last hearing only ended yesterday morning and the ministry is going to announce the plan right away, as if the opinions voiced at the public hearings were worthless.

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