Fri, May 23, 2014 - Page 4 News List

Expansion of sixth naphtha cracker gets EIA approval

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Several environmentalists yesterday protested in Taipei against plans to expand the nation’s sixth naphtha cracker complex, in Yunlin County’s Mailiao Township (麥寮), stressing that its total emission of volatile organic compounds (VOC) has already exceeded the legal limit. However the plan earned conditional approval from a meeting of environmental impact assessment (EIA) specialists.

The environmentalists criticized the plan at a meeting of the Environmental Protection Administration yesterday morning. However, the group’s doubts were dismissed by the convener of the meeting, who said that the data provided by Formosa Plastics Group may not be “false” as critics have claimed, but might be the result of a technical problem or difference in calculation methods.

The meeting gave conditional approval, demanding the company submit more information to the committee, before the case can be listed for final review at the EIA general assembly.

Taiwan Water Conservation Alliance spokesperson Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) said the annual limit for VOC emissions of the complex is 4,302 tonnes, but that emissions are now at 5,296 tonnes.

The complex has 1,615 tanks that emit VOCs and it has not gained emission approval from the local government, so the actual emissions may be even higher, she added.

Chen compared the emissions of VOCs from internal floating-roof tanks used by Chenergy Global Corp with the estimated emissions from the larger tanks of a similar design proposed in the expansion plan. She said the estimate for the larger tanks was one-tenth the amount documented from Chenergy’s smaller tanks and was therefore “clearly unreasonable.”

Chen said that since the plant’s operator, cannot provide correct and detailed figures to clarify the long-standing unsolved question of the cracker’s actual emission levels, the expansion plan should be rejected.

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