Tue, Aug 05, 2014 - Page 3 News List

KAOHSIUNG DISASTER: PFP moot chemical regulations

PLENARY SESSION?Legislator Thomas Lee said that he might propose a plenary session to review statutes intended to outline reconstruction after the explosions

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party legislators Hsiao Bi-khim, left, and Lin Tai-hua, center, at a press conference in Taipei yesterday display signs calling for the formation of a legislative subcommittee to investigate the explosions in Greater Kaohsiung.

Photo: Liu Hsin-der, Taipei Times

People First Party (PFP) legislators yesterday appealed to lawmakers from other opposition parties and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to put aside their differences and jointly stipulate special statutes on the restoration of the area in Greater Kaohsiung affected by last week’s gas pipeline explosions.

The Executive Yuan could start drafting a chemical disasters response act to integrate the government’s resources to rescue people hurt in such incidents, the PFP lawmakers said.

PFP Legislator Thomas Lee (李桐豪) told a press conference in Taipei that he hoped Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) could brief legislators on how the government responded to the disaster and also review its actions in addressing the situation.

Lee said he might propose a third plenary session to review the special statutes.

“The Legislative Yuan will do everything to help the draft the special statutes,” Lee said. “We hope that factories that manufacture chemical products can learn how to handle disasters caused by chemicals.”

Lee said that gas pipeline issues have not been addressed for three or four decades, and the regulations should be thoroughly evaluated.

PFP Legislator Chen Yi-chieh (陳怡潔) said the nation does not have an agency similar to the US’ Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has personnel professionally trained to handle chemical hazards and standardized operating procedures to deal with related disasters.

The government also lacks a chain of command to direct and monitor such hazards, she said.

She said that local governments should establish agencies to deal with chemical hazards and employ trained professionals to oversee disaster management, adding that firefighters need to be educated more on the nature of different chemicals to make correct decisions and reduce casualties.

Kaohsiung City Councilor Wu Yi-cheng (吳益政) said that the central and local governments should work together to help petrochemical companies to relocate so that residents can feel safe.

Democratic Progressive Party legislators Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and Lin Tai-hua (林岱樺) held a separate press conference in Taipei, calling for the formation of a legislative subcommittee to investigate the explosions.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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