Environmentalists yesterday accused the presidential candidates of paying insufficient attention to pollution issues in southern Taiwan, saying that they refused to sign a pledge drafted by environmental groups calling for the termination of energy and pollution-intensive development projects in southern municipalities.
A coalition of environmental groups sent the pledge to the Taipei headquarters of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) earlier this month.
They asked that the parties’ presidential and legislative candidates endorse a combination of proposals, including stopping the expansion of the Southern Taiwan Science Park in Tainan and Kaohsiung, the establishment of an oil refinery area in Kaohsiung and the expansion of China Steel Corp and the state-run oil refiner CPC Corp.
Photo: Taipei Times
Taiwan Water Resources Protection Union spokesperson Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) said that none of the presidential candidates signed the pledge, while only the DPP campaign office replied to the coalition’s proposals.
Chen said the response of the major parties was unsatisfactory.
Chen said that the DPP lacked a complete understanding of the environment in southern Taiwan, as the party, in its reply, said that the science park expansion projects would not add to air pollution or cause water shortages.
However, Chen said that the water shortage that farmers in Tainan experienced this year showed that there is no surplus water in the area for the park to utilize.
The DPP said it would strive to strike a balance between residential justice, environmental justice and industry justice when planning the oil refinery zone in Kaohsiung’s Siaogang District (小港), but Chen said that the party has ignored the fact that there is an active fault line in the district.
The city has already been designated as a class-three air quality zone — where the air pollution is most severe according to the Environmental Protection Administration’s three-class category — and has no capacity for oil refining, she said.
“Voters in southern Taiwan should cast their ballots for people willing to sign the pledge, instead of wasting their votes on the DPP or the KMT,” she added.
Tainan City Environmental Protection Alliance director Huang An-tiao (黃安調) was equally critical.
“Most legislative candidates of major parties did not sign the pledge or reply to the coalition’s proposals, or they made a uniform reply drafted by their parties. The cold shoulder response from the major parties shows that most candidates are not willing to take on environmental responsibility,” Huang said, questioning the eligibility of those candidates to represent their constituents.
Candidates of minority parties, such as the Green Party-Social Democratic Party Alliance, New Power Party and Trees Party, were more responsive and willing to sign the pledge, Huang said.
The coalition said it would launch an anti-pollution protest in Tainan on Sunday and called for candidates who have not yet signed the pledge to do so.
SURPRISE GUEST: Media reports identified the visitor as Admiral Michael Studeman, director of the J2, which oversees intelligence at the US military’s Indo-Pacific Command A two-star US Navy admiral overseeing US military intelligence in the Asia-Pacific region has made an unannounced visit to Taiwan, two sources told Reuters on Sunday. The sources, who include a Taiwanese official familiar with the situation, said the official was Rear Admiral Michael Studeman. They were speaking on condition of anonymity. After initially saying on Sunday night that it had no comment about the report, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it welcomed the visit of an “unidentified US official,” but declined to give more details because the trip “has not been made public.” Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) yesterday
AUTUMN STRUGGLE: The KMT and TPP set up stages on the rally’s sidelines, while Want Want boss Tsai Eng-meng said the DPP was curtailing freedom of speech Tens of thousands of people in Taipei yesterday took part in the “Autumn Struggle” (秋鬥) — an annual protest march by labor groups — but with this year’s focus on rejecting the government’s plan to allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine residue. “Against poisonous pork, against double standards, against a party-state,” the protesters, mostly wearing black, chanted in front of the rally’s main stage on Ketagalan Boulevard at about noon, before a parade set off at 2pm. Autumn Struggle spokesperson Lee Chien-cheng (李建誠) said this year’s march was divided into three teams, with the first team urging food safety and labor
DEFENSE: The construction of indigenous submarines will be a testament to the nation’s commitment to safeguard its sovereignty, President Tsai Ing-wen said President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday presided over a ceremony to mark the start of construction of the nation’s first indigenous submarine at state-run shipbuilder CSBC Corp’s (台灣國際造船) shipyard in Kaohsiung. “This submarine is an important part of allowing our navy to develop asymmetric warfare and to intimidate and block enemy ships from surrounding Taiwan’s main island,” Tsai said. “With the construction of the submarine to its future commission, we will certainly let the world know our persistence in safeguarding our sovereignty.” Tsai has made boosting the nation’s indigenous defense capacity a central pillar of her defense policy. She recently relaunched the
TIMELINE QUESTIONS: Chen Shih-chung said: ‘If anyone could assure us that we could get the shots in the first quarter of next year, we could set off firecrackers’ Taiwan has secured nearly 15 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported five new imported infections among travelers from Indonesia and the Philippines. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that Taiwan on Monday signed a procurement contract with a COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer and paid a deposit to secure 10 million doses. It was the first contract finalized with a manufacturer and negotiations are under way with three other vaccine makers, Chen said. With the more than 4.6 million doses that can be obtained through the COVAX platform —