Yunlin County Commissioner Lee Chin-yung (李進勇) yesterday promulgated regulations banning the burning of coal and petroleum coke by factories that were passed by the county council last month.
The regulations are to take effect tomorrow, and petcoke is to be banned one year after that date, with coal to be banned two years later.
Lee said that after promulgating the regulations, the county government will send them to the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) for reference. If the EPA thinks they contradict the law, the county government will ask for a constitutional interpretation.
It is generally believed that the county government’s move is aimed at the Formosa Plastics Group’s sixth naphtha cracker plant in the county, which generates power from burning coal and petcoke.
Some have expressed concern that after the regulations take effect, Formosa might be forced to move out of the county, resulting in massive job losses.
The EPA and the Ministry of Economic Affairs also disagreed with the move, saying that energy issues should be left to the central government for overall consideration and that if local governments have their own way, the nation could face a power shortage.
Yunlin is the most seriously affected county by PM2.5 fine particulates that pose a risk to health — 40 percent of which are said to come from other cities and counties.
The remainder comes from plants, construction sites, outdoor burning and passing vehicles, according to the county government.
The county government also said that related research has shown that burning coal and petcoke is the main source of particulates and produces potential carcinogenic materials.
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