Wed, Mar 14, 2018 - Page 3 News List

DPP is not serious about air pollution: KMT

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Ahead of tomorrow’s committee review of proposed amendments to the Air Pollution Control Act (空氣汙染防制法), the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday accused the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of “putting on a show” and not being serious about combating air pollution.

The KMT is opposed to the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ heavy-handed approach toward removing the limits on the amount of natural gas that can be used by power plants, the caucus told a news conference.

Emissions by state-run enterprises should be gradually reduced on a yearly basis and an “air pollution prevention fund” should be set up, the KMT added.

Citing Article 14 of the DPP’s proposed amendments, KMT caucus secretary-general Lee Yen-hsiu (李彥秀) said the government’s regulations on natural gas were too lax.

According to the draft article, power plants need not obtain permits or be subjected to an environmental impact assessment, which is counterproductive to fighting air pollution, Lee said.

The provision is difficult to swallow for environmentalists and ordinary people, as it is aimed at boosting the nation’s electricity generation capacity under the guise of combating air pollution, she said.

Lee also criticized the DPP for proposing a rule stating that the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) should consult the Ministry of Economic Affairs when formulating measures to tackle air pollution on days when the air quality hits dangerous levels.

The draft rule would make the EPA subordinate to the ministry and therefore undermine the act, Lee said.

State-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) earlier this month said it ordered all coal-fired power plants nationwide to decrease their power output by 20 percent in response to severe air pollution, but the number was falsified, as it took into account power generators that were undergoing maintenance, KMT Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏) said.

Excluding the power generators that were shut down when Taipower claimed to be lowering the power plants’ capacity, the actual amount of capacity reduction would total a mere 3 percent, Wang said.

The KMT caucus would propose a rule in its draft amendment that stipulates by how much power plants’ output should be reduced as an emergency measure to respond to dangerous levels of air pollution, she said.

The DPP said it would strive to reduce PM2.5 — airborne particles measuring 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter — but it has proposed expanding the Shenao coal-fired power plant in New Taipei City’s Rueifang District (瑞芳), KMT Legislator Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) said.

“The DPP either has thick skin or thinks people are fools,” he said.

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