Wed, Jul 04, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Committee rejects Datan terminal plan

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

A planned third liquefied natural gas terminal project in Taoyuan was yesterday rejected by the Environmental Protection Administration’s (EPA) environmental impact assessment (EIA) committee, even though high-ranking Ministry of Economic Affairs officials stressed its urgency.

A meeting was held to review the terminal construction project off the coast of Datan Borough (大潭) in Taoyuan’s Guanyin District (觀音) proposed by state-run CPC Corp, Taiwan.

While the project was in 2000 approved by the EPA, the utility in June last year proposed a modified development plan, which has undergone four EIA committee reviews and four meetings with experts.

Over the past year, CPC has been required to submit more documentation about ecological surveys and risk management, while environmentalists have presented findings about wildlife near the project site.

Academia Sinica biodiversity researcher Allen Chen (陳昭倫) and other researchers on Monday announced the discovery of endangered scalloped hammerhead sharks on the coast, following their discovery of protected Polycyathus chaishanensis coral last year.

The Taoyuan Local Union and other groups at a news conference in front of the EPA before the meeting started at 9:30am said that the project would inevitably affect local ecosystems and demanded that the utility scrap the project.

Nearly 60 members of the Taiwan Petroleum Workers’ Union rallied next to them, saying that they voluntarily came to express their support for the project and that the union would push CPC to realize its promise to minimize the project’s environmental impact.

The utility has decided to reduce the project’s development area from 232 to 37 hectares and not to build an incinerator and a storage area for petrochemical products, CPC vice president J.Z. Fang (方振仁) said during the meeting.

Building the terminal in New Taipei City’s Port of Taipei (台北港), as suggested by some environmentalists, would require 15 more years and delay the terminal’s gas supply to the Datan Power Plant, originally planned to begin in 2022, Fang added.

The project would not be conducted by CPC alone — the ministry would back its promise, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Tseng Wen-sheng (曾文生) said.

CPC chairperson Tai Chein (戴謙) also attended the meeting for the first time, promising that the company would avoid affecting protected wildlife while building the terminal.

However, many committee members said that the utility’s ecological documentation was still insufficient when compared with that presented by environmentalists, and that it failed to convince them that Datan is the only possible venue.

After the more than five-hour meeting, the committee decided to return the project to the ministry, the utility’s supervisor, but the decision must be confirmed by the EIA grand assembly.

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