Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday rejected Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers’ motion demanding that the Environmental Protection Administration’s (EPA) deputy head step down for his approval of rebuilding the controversial Shenao (深澳) power plant.
The coal-fired Shenao plant in New Taipei City’s Rueifang District (瑞芳) was demolished in 2007. State-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) has proposed rebuilding the plant, a project that passed an environmental impact assessment (EIA) in 2006.
Due to project changes, the utility last year filed an analysis report on any differences in the environmental impact with the EPA, which gave its consent on Wednesday.
Since the EPA gave its approval, EPA Minister Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) and Deputy Minister Chan Shun-kuei (詹順貴) have come under fire, especially Chan, who cast the decisive vote for the project when members of the EIA grand assembly were tied at eight votes for and against.
Under the current legal framework, the EPA is not able to reject the project, because the project’s estimated pollution is lower than the 2006 version that passed an EIA, Chan said yesterday during a question-and-answer session at a meeting of the Health, Environment and Labor Committee.
Unconvinced, KMT Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏) proposed a motion demanding that Chan step down and that the EPA revoke its approval and review the project again.
KMT Legislator Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) submitted other motions demanding that the EPA respond within a week to questions raised by experts during Wednesday’s meeting, and that a draft amendment be sent to the Legislative Yuan within three months.
As the New Taipei City Government has declared its intention not to issue any additional coal-use permits, Chiang also proposed that the EPA solve the problem of coal permits first, and that it hold public hearings to clarify the project’s effect on human health in the city and other affected places in northern Taiwan, including Taipei, Keelung and Taoyuan, and Hsinchu, Yilan and Miaoli counties.
A motion made by KMT Legislator Arthur Chen (陳宜民) would have required the Ministry of Economic Affairs to convert Kaohsiung’s Sinda (興達) Power Plant, which has four coal-fired and five gas-fired units, into an entirely gas-fired plant.
All six motions were rejected as the DPP’s eight lawmakers on the committee outnumbered the four KMT lawmakers.
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