The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday dismissed reports that the government is planning to replace the third liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal project in Taoyuan with an LNG terminal in Yunlin County’s Mailiao Township (麥寮).
The Chinese-language United Daily News yesterday cited “senior MOEA staff” as saying that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) had asked Formosa Plastics Group (FPG, 台塑集團) chairman William Wong (王文淵) if the construction of an LNG terminal in Mailiao could be sped up.
The environmental group Air Clean Taiwan also held a press conference yesterday at the Legislative Yuan calling for the swift construction of an LNG terminal in Mailiao to “save the algal reefs and the health of all Taiwanese.”
Photo: Cheng Shu-ting, Taipei Times
Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said that it is “impossible” for an LNG terminal in Mailiao to replace the proposed third LNG terminal off the coast of Datan Borough (大潭) in Taoyuan’s Guanyin District (觀音).
“Without an environmental impact assessment or agreement from local authorities, an LNG terminal at Mailiao is at least six years away,” Wang said.
“Mailiao is also 180km from the Datan Power Plant where the gas is needed. From previous experience, we know that those pipelines take a long time to build,” she said.
Wang said the ministry would “heartily approve” the construction of an LNG power plant and receiving terminal at Mailiao, not to replace the third LNG terminal, but to replace coal-fired plants, which release far more pollutants into the air.
“If we can build an LNG power plant in Mailiao and replace existing coal-fired plants, that would help greatly in our goal of reducing the use of coal and air pollution,” Wang said. “We will be happy to assist FPG in such a project.”
The planned third LNG terminal became controversial after environmental groups started a petition for a referendum blocking its construction in order to protect “algal reefs that are more than 7,500 years old” off Datan.
Taiwanese voters will go to the polls on Aug. 28 to decide the fate of the third LNG terminal. There are to be three other referendums on the ballot, including one calling for the mothballed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant to be activated.
According to the Referendum Act (公民投票法), 25 percent of registered voters must vote “yes” to a proposal, with the “yes” votes outnumbering the “no” votes for the proposal to pass.
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