Thu, Apr 12, 2018 - Page 3 News List

EPA officials, KMT members quibble over Shenao plant at news conferences

WORRIED ABOUT FISH:KMT lawmakers said they were concerned about the unopened plant’s eventual effect on a conservation area near New Taipei City

By William Hetherington  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lee Yen-hsiu, second left, and colleagues yesterday hold a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei to urge the Ministry of Economic Affairs to withdraw the environmental impact assessment for the construction of the Shenao Power Plant in New Taipei City.

Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday responded to criticism over the yet-to-be built new Shenao (深澳) Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Rueifang District (瑞芳), saying it would not violate the city’s marine conservation regulations.

New Taipei City regulations announced in 2014 governing the local marine conservation area do not prohibit development in the area, EPA Deputy Minister Chan Shun-kuei (詹順貴) said on the sidelines of a meeting at the Legislative Yuan.

If the conservation area is important, rules should be amended to restrict development, he said.

Current regulations only prohibit the fishing of certain marine species on a seasonal basis, Chan said, adding that the city has only objected to Shenao plant due to its potential for air pollution.

New Taipei City Environmental Protection Department Director Liu Ho-jan (劉和然) on Tuesday told a news conference that he called for Ministry of the Interior regulations to prohibit arbitrary development in the conservation area.

State-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) should coordinate with local officials and work out any concerns about environmental impact before rebuilding the plant, rather than forcing compliance from the city after the environment has already been damaged, he said.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus secretary-general Lee Yen-hsiu (李彥秀), KMT Legislator Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) and KMT Legislator Arthur Chen (陳宜民) yesterday reiterated Liu’s concerns about the plant’s potential impact during a news conference they held, where they called for the EPA environmental impact assessment (EIA) grand assembly’s approval of the plans for the plant to be rescinded.

Lee said the plant would not only create air pollution, but would also cause heavy damage to the local marine environment.

The EPA has ignored the concerns of the city and environmentalists, she said, criticizing Chan for saying that the city had not expressed an opinion on the matter.

“The Democratic Progressive Party has ‘fired its arrows before drawing a target’ with the Shenao Power Plant issue. They have e set it up so that their plans cannot but be passed. All the meetings are just a formality,” Lee said.

Department division director Sun Chung-wei (孫忠偉), who attended the KMT’s news conference, said Taipower approached the city’s fisheries office in 2016 to ask about having the demarcation for the conservation area redrawn, but the office objected.

At a meeting on Sept 20, 2016, the Ministry of Economic Affairs proposed Taipower work out the plant’s location with the New Taipei City fisheries office before proceeding with construction of a new verson of the plant, but the city did not agree, he said.

“There was no consensus with Taipower,” he said.

Chen said he would call for EPA and Taipower officials to attend a meeting of the legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee on Monday to discuss power plants and conservation areas.

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