Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - Page 3 News List

KMT unveils Shenao Power Plant referendum drive

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers, second left to right, Lai Shyh-bao, Lin Te-fu, Lee Yen-hsiu and William Tseng hold a news conference in Taipei yesterday asking the public to participate in a petition against upgrading the Shenao Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Rueifang District.

Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

Following several pan-green camp legislators on Thursday voicing objections to building an upgraded Shenao Power Plant, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday unveiled a signature drive to oppose the construction or expansion of any coal-fired power plant in the nation.

The referendum question asks people whether they believe that to safeguard public health, the government should establish an energy policy that bans the construction or expansion of coal-fired power plants — including the planned Shenao Power Plant, which passed an environmental impact assessment last month.

The question largely shadowed that raised by the KMT legislative caucus earlier this month, which asked people whether they support gradually reducing the nation’s reliance on coal to generate electricity.

The KMT’s latest referendum drive on tackling air pollution was announced a day after Democratic Progressive Party legislators Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應) and Liu Chien-kuo (劉建國) and New Power Party Legislator Kawlo Iyun Pacidal at a news conference called for the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to subject the planned Shenao plant to a new environmental impact assessment rather than a partial assessment like the one that approved the project, which only compared the potential environmental impact the plant would have with that which it would have created in 2006 had it not been shelved to make way for the now-mothballed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮).

The planned location for the new Shenao Plant, in New Taipei City’s Shenao Harbor (深澳灣), and the location of its previous iteration — in the nearby Fanzaiao Bay (番仔澳灣) — are different, but both locations are in an ecological protection zone, said KMT Legislator Arthur Chen (陳宜民), who is the convener for the legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee.

He said that he would request the EPA, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Council of Agriculture to clarify the scope of the ecological protection zone and other unsettled controversy surrounding the Shenao project in a meeting of the committee on Monday.

There is an elementary school just a street away from the Shenao Power Plant’s planned construction site, which had not been included in project developer Taiwan Power Co’s (Taipower) assessment report, Tsai said.

As such, the administration should keep the option of a new EIA open, he said.

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