Sun, Nov 26, 2017 - Page 3 News List

EPA overturns Changhua’s Formosa Chemicals ruling

NOT ON THE SAME PAGE:The Environmental Protection Administration in March ruled that the county’s ruling was flawed, but it went on to impose more fines on the firm

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) on Friday overruled the Changhua County Government’s administrative injunction on the coal-using permits of Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp’s (FCFC, 台化) cogeneration power plant.

Founded in 1965 in Changhua City, the company is a subsidiary of Formosa Plastics Group (台塑企業) and mainly produces chemical fibers and materials for petrochemical and plastic products.

The company last month earned about NT$31.6 billion (US$1.05 billion), an increase of 21.18 percent compared with the same period last year, while its revenue for the first 10 months of the year reached about NT$291.3 billion, company data released earlier this month showed.

The county government in September last year rejected the company’s application for an extension of permits for its three coal-fired cogeneration boilers at the Changhua plant, citing the company’s failure to use less-polluting coal, which it promised to do in an environmental impact assessment report in 1999.

The plant was virtually shut down when the three boilers — M16, M17 and M22 — stopped operating on or before Oct. 7 last year.

The company filed an administrative appeal against the county government.

The EPA in March said that the county government’s review procedure was flawed.

Even if the county government had good intentions and wanted to curb local air pollution, it should have supervised the company to make sure it realized its promise, the EPA said, revoking the county government’s ruling and requiring it to produce a new one.

The county government in May went one step further, revoking FCFC’s permits to operate the three boilers in addition to rejecting its extension applications.

Last week, the county imposed a record fine of about NT$1.2 billion on the company, which it said made illegal revenue by operating the boilers from 2008 to last year.

FCFC has filed a second administrative appeal against the county government.

Meanwhile, the EPA on Friday said that the county government’s review procedure had also been illegitimate in this case.

The county government’s second ruling did not answer questions the EPA had asked after the first appeal, EPA Committee for Petitions and Appeals Executive Secretary Su Chung-kuang (蘇中光) said yesterday.

It should have followed legitimate procedures to reconsider the company’s previous application, rather than revoking its permits, he said, citing Article 95 and Article 96 of the Administrative Appeal Act (訴願法).

The county government should issue a new injunction within two months, Su said.

However, local governments tend not to observe the time limit, he added.

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