The Tainan Water Resources Protection Union yesterday submitted a petition to Greater Tainan’s Environmental Protection Bureau expressing its concern over a proposed legislative amendment it says will loosen restrictions on industrial development in reservoir catchment areas.
The group said the change to the Standards for Determining Specific Items and Scope of Environmental Impact Assessments for Development Activities proposed by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) could contaminate rivers and ground water with industrial waste.
It said that when Typhoon Morakot swept over Taiwan in 2009, it caused severe sedimentation problems at the Tsengwen (曾文), Nanhua (南化) and Wushantou (烏山頭) reservoirs, forcing the government to allocate about NT$50 billion (US$1.67 billion) to desilt the reservoirs and secure the water supply in southern Taiwan.
Union chairman Huang An-tiao (黃安調) said that tap water quality protection areas are classified into two categories: 75 reservoirs and dams, including the Tsengwen Reservoir, are on the first level, while another 21 reservoirs and dams are in the second level.
Huang said the group is opposed to the amendment because loosening development regulations would make it easier for potentially polluting industries such as butchering, lumber, lighting equipment manufacturing to establish facilities in these areas.
In addition, the proposal would exempt nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing facilities operating on plots of land smaller than 1 hectare from having to undergo environment impact assessments, which could also lead to tap water pollution, Huang said.
Group member Wu Mei-hsiang (吳美香) said the Tsengwen River (曾文溪) is the only clean river in Greater Tainan and should be protected from pollution, so hopefully the bureau will accept the union’s petition and express its objection to the amendment to the EPA.