Stories about nuclear power and the contentious construction of a resort were chosen as the top 10 environmental news stories of last year by the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU).
The No. 1 story was the approval of the construction of a Miramar Resort Village in Taitung granted by a local environmental impact assessment meeting. The project has been generating controversy since it began in 2005, with activists saying it would adversely impact the environment and a court having ruled it illegal in 2010.
TEPU said it believed the hotel being approved last month was picked as the top story because the public is concerned that the assessment was not carried out honestly.
The second top news story was about the Atomic Energy Council’s disapproval of a Japanese academic who publicly expressed concern over possible radiation leakage at Orchid Island’s (蘭嶼) nuclear waste storage facility.
In third place was the story about broken anchor bolts discovered on the first reactor of the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in Wanli District (萬里), New Taipei City (新北市).
Former TEPU chairman Kao Cheng-yan (高成炎) said the No. 4 top news story was the legislature’s approving of a supplementary budget for building the Longmen (龍門) Nuclear Power Plant in a 47 to 45 vote. Kao said this showed that public opinion toward nuclear power is gradually changing because the budget was only narrowly approved.
TEPU deputy secretary-general Lee Hsiu-jung (李秀容) said two other stories that made the list were about environmentalist groups that won a lawsuit against the Miramar Resort construction and the New Taipei City Council saying that the local referendum act could be used to vote for the operation of the Longmen Nuclear Power Plant.
However, the TEPU said it is disappointing that the government gave hardly any positive responses on issues that the public is really concerned about, and that government branches have often ignored court-mandated rulings.
Lee said the top 10 list was determined by the union’s board members, the members of its subdivisions across the nation and online users, about 1,000 of whom who voted for their favorite stories in an Internet poll.