Sat, May 13, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Protesters call on Yunlin not to renew coal licenses

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Dozens of environmentalists rally in front of Douliou Railway Station in Yunlin County yesterday to protest against a plan to renew the licenses for coal-fired boilers at the naphtha cracker in the county’s Mailiao Township.

Photo: Lin Kuo-hsien, Taipei Times

Environmentalists yesterday urged the Yunlin County Government not to renew Formosa Petrochemical Corp’s (FPCC) coal-fired boiler licenses next month, while the county promised it would use the strictest criteria in reviewing the company’s application.

Dozens of environmentalists rallied in front of Douliou Railway Station, calling on Yunlin County Commissioner Lee Chin-yung (李進勇) to fulfill his promise to ban coal and petroleum coke — the primary source of air pollution in the county — or, at least, to refuse to renew the licenses that are due to expire on June 11.

“We do not oppose [FPCC’s] naphtha cracker. We oppose its air pollution,” said Wang Li-ping (王麗萍), one of the demonstrators.

The protesters demanded that the company replace coal with natural gas, as it did at its plant in Texas, and asked the county government to hold a public hearing this month before deciding on renewing the licenses.

The Taipei Department of Environmental Protection held such a hearing in February to review the applications of Chang Chun Petrochemical Corp and Jinzhou Technology Corp, and eventually reduced the amount of their coal permit by 94 percent, Taiwan Healthy Air Action Alliance researcher Hsu Hsin-hsin (許心欣) said.

The Yunlin Environmental Protection Bureau can do the same, Hsu said.

She added that the group has obtained some information on the licenses, but parts of the information are not available because of FPCC’s confidentiality claims, such as the price and description of the coal it buys.

The bureau issued a statement acknowledging the group’s efforts to fight for public health and said it would adopt the strictest criteria when reviewing the company’s application to renew its licenses.

It said it had tightened control over the plant since 2015, reducing its coal permit by 2,312,726 tonnes and its petroleum coke license by 609,340 tonnes, as well as shortening the duration of its license from five years to two.

As for the group’s call for a public hearing, Air Quality Protection and Noise Control section chief Liao Chong-huan (廖崇圜) said Lee had turned down the suggestion at a meeting of the Yunlin County Council last month.

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