By Lee I-chia
Farmers, fishermen and environmentalists yesterday staged a protest in front of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) building in Taipei, urging Environmental Impact Assessment Committee (EIAC) members to put a stop to the fourth-phase expansion project at the Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP).
The protesters said the EPA has neglected local people’s opposition to the project by conditionally passing the science park’s environmental impact assessment in 2009, thus leaving many environmental problems unsolved.
Among the problems, the protesters said, is the issue of where and how industrial wastewater from the science park would be discharged, adding that this was the first project to gain approval from the EIAC when the wastewater discharge plans weren’t even confirmed.
Youth Alliance of Anti-CTSP member Lin Ming-hua (林明樺) said the utility rates of existing science parks across the country are still low and it has been evaluated that they would not be able to reclaim their construction costs any time soon because of privileged discounted rent and tax waiver policies.
“Why develop just for the sake of development when it brings no substantial benefit to the people?” she asked.
Shih-hsin University Department of Public Policy and Management assistant professor Tu Wen-ling (杜文苓) said there are up to 60,000 chemical substances contained in merchandise on the market, and the government already has difficulties examining them. The government should demand the manufacturers announce what chemicals are included in the waste water, he said.
Lin Lien-tsung (林連宗), secretary-general of the Fangyuan Self-Help Association in Changhua County, added that the Changhua and Yunlin areas are already facing problems of land subsidence and insufficient farm irrigation water, so where the CTSP fourth-phase expansion project would get its water supply from is already an unsolved problem.
The protesters urged for the project to be reconsidered in its entirety, since it raised so many concerns and issues waiting to be solved.
A EIAC meeting was held yesterday afternoon to review an analysis report submitted by the developer on a different approach to the waste water disposal problem.
Instead of the initial plan of discharging waste water into the Jhuoshuei River (濁水溪), the developer — the National Science Council’s CTSP Administration — proposed new plans of constructing a 34.5km long pipe (with more than 5km going into the ocean) to discharge waste water into the sea. The CTSP Administration representative said it would have less of an environmental impact than discharging the wastewater into the river.
After more than two hours of discussion, the committee concluded that the CTSP Administration should submit a revised report for further review by adding supplement information on aspects such as the waste water discharge pipe’s security management and emergency response methods, geological data along the pipeline and environmental impacts on the rivermouth.
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