Wed, Oct 12, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Lawmakers back Changhua’s rule stance

By Cheng Hung-ta and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A group of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday said they supported Changhua County Commissioner Wei Ming-ku’s (魏明谷) compliance with regulations and urged Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp not to use workers’ demands to force the county government into skirting the law.

A group of company employees over the past week has staged protests in front of the Changhua County government building and clashed with police, expressing anger over county authorities’ refusal to issue an operating permit for the plant’s three power generators by a Sept. 28 deadline. Without the renewed permits, the plant is expected to completely shut down, which would leave the workers out of work.

At a news conference in Taipei, DPP legislators Chen Su-yueh (陳素月), Hung Chun-yi (洪宗熠) and Huang Hsiu-fang (黃秀芳) expressed support for Wei, who is also a DPP member.

Chen called on the workers not to “act mistakenly,” adding that the permits were revoked over noncompliance with environmental protection standards.

The plant should reapply for new permits as soon as possible and not waste time protesting, she said.

Chen said that regardless of how the permits were obtained five years ago, the plant must be socially responsible now and obtain a permit with proper inspection of the facilities by the county government’s Environmental Protection Bureau.

The company cannot cover up breaches of the regulations by saying it is trying to create job opportunities, Huang said, adding that while the county is acting according to law, the company is trying to solve the issue through appeal.

Formosa Chemicals & Fibre should take responsibility and seek to settle the issue for workers, Huang said, adding that she hopes the company and senior workers would take the issue seriously.

Hung said the company’s permit applications have already been rejected 37 times.

Hung said it has been revealed that Cho Po-chung (卓伯仲), brother of former Changhua county commissioner Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源), had sought funding from the company’s then-vice chairman Hong Fu-yuan (洪福源) for 1 million bags with poetry written on them at a total value of NT$370 million (US$11.7 million).

“Do not think you can simply give financial support to the government and have it turn a blind eye to illegal activity,” Hung said to Hong.

Hung said that the problems would not exist if the company simply obtained the permits for the boilers via correct procedures, but the company has so far failed to do so.

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