Tue, Oct 09, 2018 - Page 3 News List

CPC’s gas terminal plan passes, despite protests

DISAPPOINTMENT:Environmentalists voiced their anger over the project’s passage and said they would stage a protest on Ketagalan Boulevard on Nov. 3 as planned

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

A coalition of environmental and labor rights groups protest outside the Environmental Protection Administration building in Taipei yesterday during a review of CPC Corp, Taiwan’s liquefied natural gas terminal project at Guantang Industrial Park in Taoyuan’s Guanyin District.

Photo: CNA

CPC Corp, Taiwan’s (CPC) third liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal project yesterday passed its environmental impact assessment (EIA) review, drawing ire from environmentalists who said they were “disappointed and furious.”

The EIA grand assembly’s decision overturned a decision made by an EIA committee in July, which rejected the project due to its potential impact on algal reef and endangered species on the planned site — Guantang Industrial Park (觀塘工業區) on the coast of Datan Borough (大潭) in Taoyuan’s Guanyin District (觀音).

Two previous assembly meetings failed to convene due to the absence of Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Deputy Minister Chan Shun-kuei (詹順貴) and five EIA members, but yesterday’s meeting pushed through with another EPA deputy minister, Chang Tzi-chin (張子敬), attending in Chan’s place.

With EPA Minister Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) presiding, the project passed by 7-2.

Although it was a secret ballot, the seven were believed to be six government representatives and one academic, while two other committee members cast invalid votes.

Soon after the meeting closed, the EPA called a news conference at 4pm.

The agency reiterated that CPC has reduced the development area from 232 to 23 hectares and proposed plans to mitigate the project’s potential ecological impact.

Premier William Lai (賴清德) did not exert any pressure on the EIA assembly, but only asked that the company persuade assembly members with a convincing report, Lee said.

EPA Department of Comprehensive Planning Director-General Liu Tsung-yung (劉宗勇) said that CPC is required to build the terminal’s wave breakers 20m to 30m away from the coastline to minimize their impact on coastal species, in line with a proposal made yesterday by EIA committee member Ma Hsiao-kan (馬小康).

Committee member and coral expert Jeng Ming-shiou (鄭明修), who was again absent at yesterday’s meeting, said he was disappointed, but that he would continue to supervise other development projects to address the concerns of environmental groups.

Many environmental and labor rights groups protested outside the EPA building before and throughout the meeting.

After the project was passed, they turned to petition President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) outside the Presidential Office Building.

“We feel disappointed, regretful and furious” about the result, Taoyuan Local Union director Pan Chong-cheng (潘忠政) said, but added that it was expected, as it had the premier’s support.

The groups said they wanted to remind Tsai of her 2013 promise to protect the algal reefs on Datan’s coast and would push through with a planned rally on Ketagalan Boulevard on Nov. 3, Pan said.

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