Tue, Oct 16, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Shen vows to revoke Shenao approvals

MOVEMENT:While lawmakers demanded guarantees that the power plant would not be built, a plan to replace coal-fired generators in Taichung had its first environmental review

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Alicia Wang, second left, Huang Chao-shun, third left, KMT caucus secretary-general William Tseng, center, and KMT Legislator Chiang Wan-an, third right, hold placards at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday caved in to demands by lawmakers that it revoke the planned coal-fired Shenao Power Plant’s (深澳電廠) environmental impact assessment (EIA) approval within two months, after being pressured by members of the legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee

Taiwan Power Co’s (Taipower) previous Shenao plant in New Taipei City’s Rueifang District (瑞芳) was decommissioned in 2007 and demolished in 2011, but a proposal by the state-run utility to build a new plant at the site passed an EIA in 2006.

While the utility’s revised plan for the project also passed an EIA in May, Premier William Lai (賴清德), faced with protests, on Friday last week announced that the plans would be shelved, saying that electricity supply would be assured after CPC Corp, Taiwan’s third liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal project passed an EIA on Monday last week.

At the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers alike demanded that the Cabinet terminate the Shenao project by revoking all administrative approvals granted since 2006.

The demand echoed calls by environmental groups.

“It is unnecessary” to revoke any approvals, given that officials would certainly follow Lai’s orders to stop the construction project, Bureau of Energy Deputy Director-General Lee Chun-li (李君禮) said.

However, he changed his stance after KMT lawmakers called Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) to the meeting.

The ministry would initiate an official process to revoke the Shenao project’s EIA approval within two months, Shen said.

After receiving Taipower’s formal application to stop the project, the ministry would forward it to the Executive Yuan, which is to decide whether to revoke approvals granted by the EPA, Lee said, adding that the process could take two months.

Separately yesterday, Taipower’s plan to install two new gas-fired power generators with a total capacity of between 2,000 and 2,600 megawatts at the Taichung Power Plant underwent its first review by an EIA committee.

After the new units are installed, Taipower would turn four of the plant’s 10 existing coal-fired power generators into backup units, company president Chung Bin-li (鍾炳利) said, adding that it would also build a liquefied natural gas terminal at the Port of Taichung, which is near the Taichung plant.

While many attendants supported the utility’s decision to replace coal-fired units with gas-fired ones to cut emissions, the EIA committee decided that Taipower should offer supplementary documentation about risk management and plans to mitigate the project’s ecological impact by Jan. 31 next year, before the next review.

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