Following a court order for the Kaohsiung City Government to withdraw a proposed road construction in a major winter habitat for black-faced spoonbills, bird-lovers yesterday called on the city government to respect the verdict and put conservation above development.
To accommodate increasing traffic demand, the city government proposed building a 900m roadway cutting through the northwestern part of the Cieding Wetlands (茄萣溼地) — the nation’s second-largest habitat for black-faced spoonbills after the Cigu Wetlands (七股溼地) in Tainan.
The proposed project passed an environmental review in 2014, but local residents filed an administrative lawsuit demanding that the city withdraw the project.
Photo: Su Fu-nan, Taipei Times
The Kaohsiung High Administrative Court on Tuesday overruled the environmental review, but has yet to release its written judgement and reasons for the verdict.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs stated that the Cieding Wetlands is a nature reserve of national importance inhabited by black-faced spoonbills, peregrine falcons and other protected species, and developments such as the proposed roadway that would have a significant ecological impact should be avoided where possible, but the city government pushed the project despite feasible alternatives to the roadway, which was in violation of the Wetlands Conservation Act (濕地保育法) and the Environmental Impact Assessment Act (環境影響評估法).
Kaohsiung Wild Bird Society general manager Lin Kun-hai (林昆海) said that the environmental review process was hasty and flawed, as the review committee had a predetermined position on the project.
The committee overlooked a more cost-effective and environmentally sustainable option in favor of the roadway, whose advantage has been questioned because a 900m passage would hardly save time for travelers, he said.
Lin added that it was unreasonable for the committee to favor the roadway over an alternative solution that proposes to improve existing roads surrounding the wetlands.
Plans for construction of the roadway showed that it would be closed in winter to avoid disturbing migrating birds, thus making the roadway a dispensable option with a higher environmental cost compared with improving nearby roads, he said.
“The court’s overruling of the case was a clear message to the city government, warning it against having a predetermined mindset and disrespecting the review process. We call on the city government to accept the verdict and not to appeal the case to protect the environment,” Lin said.
DISTRUST WARRANTED? The WHO is under China’s control and has become a useless organization, while data from China cannot be trusted, a Control Yuan member said China’s demand that the novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, Hubei Province, not be referred to with names like the “Wuhan pneumonia” betrays its lack of confidence in itself, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told lawmakers yesterday. Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘) asked Su, during a interpellation at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, for his view on China’s attempts to redeem its national image in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. These included China’s efforts to “bleach” its image, including having WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus publicly praise its handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, and thanking it for buying time
TOO TIRED: Investigators found that the pilot’s lack of alertness could be attributed to a lack of sleep the previous night, when he had slept with his child It was a copilot’s inappropriate operation of the aircraft and the pilot’s insufficient alertness that led to a hard landing of a China Airlines cargo flight on Dec. 13, 2018, the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board said yesterday. Flight CI6844, a Boeing 747-409 which departed from Hong Kong International Airport, landed on the pre-threshold area of runway L5 at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, about 21m before the head of the runway, an investigation report said. The hard landing damaged three runway lights, but none of the personnel on board sustained any injuries, the report said. When approaching the runway, the copilot failed to maintain
REPEAT OFFENDER: The man went outside for exercise on Wednesday and then left his home on Saturday with his girlfriend, officials said A New Taipei City man has been fined NT$400,000 (US$13,221) and ordered into government quarantine after breaking home quarantine for a second time on Saturday. The 25-year-old man, surnamed Chen (陳) returned to Taiwan on Sunday last week and was ordered to home quarantine until Sunday. He was seen leaving his home on a scooter with his girlfriend on Saturday, three days after he was fined NT$200,000 for going outside to exercise, police said. Chen has now been placed in a quarantine center arranged by the district office and health center of the district where he lives, police said. Police warned the public
Taipei residents who stay at hotels in the city during their 14-day mandatory quarantine period are eligible to apply for the city’s NT$7,000 subsidy, with online applications to be launched next week. Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) on Monday said Taipei residents who have COVID-19 Health Declaration and Home Quarantine Notice dated after March 19 and a quarantine hotel receipt for the dates covered by the quarantine period, would be eligible for the subsidy. The Taipei City Government on Sunday told the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) that so many city residents are under home quarantine that about 90 percent of