Sat, Dec 02, 2017 - Page 3 News List

LNG terminal plan changes criticized

NOT SATISFIED:A Council of Agriculture researcher said that new proposals that should address criticism of CPC’s proposed gas terminal in Taoyuan had no scientific basis

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

A Ministry of Economic Affairs proposal to reduce the planned area of the third liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal to protect wildlife is laudable, but it should still find a better location for the project, an environmentalist said yesterday, after the ministry on Wednesday said that the plot could be reduced by more than two-thirds.

CPC Corp, Taiwan’s (CPC, 台灣中油) plans to build the terminal off the coast of Datan Borough (大潭) in Taoyuan’s Guanyin District (觀音), but environmentalists have been opposed to the project, which they have said would bury nearby algal reefs, as well as the endangered coral Polycyathus chaishanensis.

The development area of the terminal project could be reduced from 65 hectares to 21 hectares, Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) told the Legislative Yuan on Wednesday, adding that CPC would build some of the gas storage tanks in a windbreak forest to avoid affecting the algal reefs.

Instead of building the terminal on wetlands that contain the algal reefs, the utility plans to build it on a new offshore wharf so that it will not obstruct the tide and will not endanger the ecosystem near the shore, CPC vice president J.Z. Fang (方振仁) said that day.

The project has yet to pass a review by an Environmental Protection Administration ad hoc committee.

As it only requires 21 hectares, CPC could build its gas terminal at the Port of Taipei (台北港) or in other locations, Taoyuan Local Union director-general Pan Chong-cheng (潘忠政) said yesterday.

In a meeting with five environmentalists on Nov. 21, Minister Without Portfolio Chang Ching-sen (張景森) promised that a “communication platform” between government agencies and environmental groups would be established before any alternative locations for the terminal project would be discussed, Pan said, adding that it was curious that the ministry and CPC proposed new ideas before any communication had actually happened.

The ecosystem off Datan’s coast cannot be broken down into separate areas, he said, adding that even if the terminal is built on an offshore wharf, wildlife would still be affected.

Seperately yesterday, Council of Agriculture Endemic Species Research Institute associate researcher Liu Ching-yu (劉靜榆) said that CPC’s new proposals are not based on any scientific evidence.

The waters off Taoyuan are an important hotbed for marine life around Taiwan and the government should not sacrifice the marine ecosystem for a gas terminal that will only be used for three decades, she said.

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