Sat, Jan 04, 2020 - Page 3 News List

2020 Elections: Only support parties that would protect reefs: group

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan deputy executive Tsai Chung-yueh, left, Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association lawyer Tsai Ya-ying, third right, and members of the Rescue Datan’s Algal Reefs Alliance raise their fists at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Voters should support political parties that agree to help protect algal reefs in Taoyuan’s Guantang Industrial Park (觀塘工業區), the Rescue Datan’s Algal Reefs Alliance said yesterday, as it evaluated parties’ responses to the issue.

Construction of the nation’s third liquefied natural gas terminal at the park by CPC Corp, Taiwan started in April last year, after an environmental impact assessment was passed in October 2018 amid controversy.

The alliance sent letters to several parties asking if they would promise to demand that the central government extend legal protection to the reefs.

All of the legislator-at-large nominees of the New Power Party, the Interfaith Union, the Taiwan Solidarity Union, the Taiwan Statebuilding Party and the Taiwan Action Party Alliance have signed the letters, Rescue Datan’s Algal Reefs Alliance convener Pan Chong-cheng (潘忠政) told a news conference in Taipei.

None of the legislator-at-large nominees of the Democratic Progressive Party, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the Taiwan People’s Party, the People First Party or the New Party signed, he said.

Pan also expressed disappointment about the Green Party Taiwan, which replied with revised letters, saying that the party should have demonstrated greater attention for environmental issues.

Scientific evidence has shown that the biodiversity in the intertidal zone where the reefs grow is best along Taoyuan’s 27km coastline, Academia Sinica Biodiversity Research Center research fellow Allen Chen (陳昭倫) said.

In March last year, international ocean conservation group Mission Blue listed the reefs as one of the world’s “Hope Spots,” the first in East Asia, he said.

The achievement should have been an opportunity to promote Taiwan’s biodiversity on the global stage, but the government has lacked the willpower to take action, he added.

Regardless of which party holds power after the presidential and legislative elections on Saturday next week, the new government should re-examine the value of the reefs and related ecosystems, Chen said.

Separately yesterday, the Green Party Taiwan said on Facebook that it revised the letters because it only agreed with certain parts.

To phase out nuclear energy and reduce coal-fired generation, it considers the project to be a relatively better solution, but not the best in terms of environmental protection, it said, adding that CPC has promised to reduce its development area.

The developer should seek backup sites and conduct a new environmental impact assessment, related research and review of the natural landscape for the project, it added.

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