Changhua County and Taichung City governments this week proposed a set of bylaws to regulate the burning of petroleum coke and coal to combat air pollution after a similar bid by Yunlin County was rejected by the central government.
The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) last month invalidated a similar Yunlin County bylaw that would have prohibited the burning of petroleum coke and coal in the county by 2017, saying that such a ban would fall outside the jurisdiction of local governments according to the Energy Administration Act (能源管理法) and the Local Government Act (地方制度法).
Undeterred, the Changhua County Government proposed a draft bylaw to ban burning of coal, petroleum coke and coal water slurry countywide in two years, with the bylaw pending approval of the the Changhua County Council.
The Changhua Environmental Protection Bureau said the EPA’s rejection of the Yunlin ban was not necessarily applicable to other municipalities.
The PM2.5 — airborne pollutants measuring less than 2.5 micrometers — concentration level in Changhua last year was 31.2 micrograms per cubic meter, the fourth-highest in the nation and more than double the EPA’s national target of 15 micrograms per cubic meter by 2020.
Sixty percent of Changhua’s particulate matters are produced locally and the draft bylaw would sufficiently reduce air pollution, the bureau said.
Separately, a proposed Taichung bylaw that would prohibit the burning of petroleum coke and limit the burning of coal in the city passed its first reading at the Taichung City Council on Wednesday.
Taichung Environmental Protection Bureau Director Hung Cheng-chung (洪正中) said the bylaw is to reduce the use of coal by 40 percent in four years to protect residents’ health.
Taichung City Councilor Chen Shu-hua (陳淑華) said the Taichung bylaw, unlike the Yunlin ban, would not prohibit, but regulate the burning of coal, while Taiwan Power Co said it would be willing to abide by the regulations.
Taichung City Councilor Fan Sung-yu (范淞育) said the legislation would pressure coal-fired power plants in the city to commit to air pollution control, while blocking the draft bylaw would be a tacit approval of pollution.
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