Algal reefs on the coast in Taoyuan’s Datan Borough (大潭) have been designated a “hope spot” by Mission Blue, environmentalists told a news conference in Taipei yesterday, urging the government to curb construction on a nearby CPC Corp, Taiwan gas terminal.
The utility plans to build the nation’s third liquefied natural gas terminal at Guantang Industrial Park (觀塘工業區), but environmentalists warn that the project might affect species in intertidal zones.
The algal reef is the first coastal site in East Asia identified by Mission Blue, an international organization that promotes public awareness of protected marine areas, as being “critical to the Earth’s health,” Academia Sinica Biodiversity Research Center research fellow Allen Chen (陳昭倫) said.
Photo: Lee Hsin-fang, Taipei Times
He and other collaborators in February submitted an application to Mission Blue, whose approval in March after a careful review by acclaimed scientists proves the landscape’s value, Chen said.
Mission Blue was founded by marine biologist Sylvia Earle, who was named by Time magazine as its “Hero for the Planet” in 1998 and is an explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society.
Chen presented a letter from Earle to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) that called for more effort to protect “a unique ecosystem with rich biodiversity.”
“It would be a huge loss not only to Taiwan, but to the world should this reef be destroyed by development,” Earle wrote.
“I sincerely request the government of Taiwan, please against all odds conserve Datan algal reef for the world, for the ocean and for the health of the future generations,” she wrote. “Mission Blue will also do our best to promote the extraordinary algal reef ecosystem to the world.”
The Presidential Office had not responded to the letter as of yesterday, Chen said.
CPC has started landfill work for the project, which has affected the habitat of little terns, although it has not yet affected the reefs, he said.
Approvals for the project by government agencies were flawed, while then-premier William Lai (賴清德) interfered in its environmental impact assessment last year, Taoyuan Local Union director Pan Chong-cheng (潘忠政) said.
Groups have filed six administrative appeals against the project and if the Executive Yuan overrules their latest appeal, they would file an administrative lawsuit, Pan said.
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