Following a court order for the Kaohsiung City Government to withdraw a proposed road construction in a major winter habitat for black-faced spoonbills, bird-lovers yesterday called on the city government to respect the verdict and put conservation above development.
To accommodate increasing traffic demand, the city government proposed building a 900m roadway cutting through the northwestern part of the Cieding Wetlands (茄萣溼地) — the nation’s second-largest habitat for black-faced spoonbills after the Cigu Wetlands (七股溼地) in Tainan.
The proposed project passed an environmental review in 2014, but local residents filed an administrative lawsuit demanding that the city withdraw the project.
Photo: Su Fu-nan, Taipei Times
The Kaohsiung High Administrative Court on Tuesday overruled the environmental review, but has yet to release its written judgement and reasons for the verdict.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs stated that the Cieding Wetlands is a nature reserve of national importance inhabited by black-faced spoonbills, peregrine falcons and other protected species, and developments such as the proposed roadway that would have a significant ecological impact should be avoided where possible, but the city government pushed the project despite feasible alternatives to the roadway, which was in violation of the Wetlands Conservation Act (濕地保育法) and the Environmental Impact Assessment Act (環境影響評估法).
Kaohsiung Wild Bird Society general manager Lin Kun-hai (林昆海) said that the environmental review process was hasty and flawed, as the review committee had a predetermined position on the project.
The committee overlooked a more cost-effective and environmentally sustainable option in favor of the roadway, whose advantage has been questioned because a 900m passage would hardly save time for travelers, he said.
Lin added that it was unreasonable for the committee to favor the roadway over an alternative solution that proposes to improve existing roads surrounding the wetlands.
Plans for construction of the roadway showed that it would be closed in winter to avoid disturbing migrating birds, thus making the roadway a dispensable option with a higher environmental cost compared with improving nearby roads, he said.
“The court’s overruling of the case was a clear message to the city government, warning it against having a predetermined mindset and disrespecting the review process. We call on the city government to accept the verdict and not to appeal the case to protect the environment,” Lin said.
SMALL RESPITE: The past few rainy days, which came after one month of virtually no rain on the west coast, did not ease Taiwan’s water shortage problems, the CWB said A weather system from southern China has over the past three days replenished Taiwan’s reservoirs with almost 16 million tonnes of water, giving Taiwan a slight relief from a water shortage, the Water Resources Agency (WRA) said yesterday. From 12am on Tuesday to 4pm yesterday, about 15.97 million tonnes fell in the catchment areas of the nation’s reservoirs, which is slightly more than Taiwan’s average daily water use, it said. However, the rain would ease today, with only isolated showers forecast in Hualien and Taitung counties, as well as in southern Taiwan, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said. For other regions, cloudy to
A debt dispute between a restaurant owner and a criminal ring might be behind a bizarre cockroach attack at the Taipei eatery on Monday night while it was hosting a police gathering, Taipei Police Commissioner Chen Jia-chang (陳嘉昌) said yesterday. Preliminary findings of a police investigation into the case at the G House Taipei suggest that the unusual incident might have been directed at the restaurant’s owner, who allegedly owes money to the Bamboo Union, Chen said. The suspects were Bamboo Union members and there was no evidence indicating that the cockroaches were targeted at the police officers at the restaurant, he
Taiwan’s armed forces should closely monitor China’s development of a new tanker aircraft, as it would significantly boost the Chinese air force’s capability to carry out long-range raids, a military expert said on Wednesday. Ou Si-fu (歐錫富), a research fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said in an online article that China is developing a tanker variant of its Y-20 military transport aircraft, known as the Y-20U. The Y-20 has a maximum take-off weight of 220 tonnes and the tanker variant is expected to carry up to 60 tonnes of fuel, more than three times the maximum
TRAVELING WHILE CONTAGIOUS: The highest risk of infection is indoors, especially in settings where people take off their masks to eat and drink, an expert warned The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday posted a list of places visited by people who were recently diagnosed with COVID-19 while they were likely contagious, urging people who visited the sites at the same time to practice self-health management. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that confirmed case No. 1,129 — a woman in her 60s who works at Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, a designated quarantine facility, and tested positive on Friday — visited Chiayi between Friday last week and Monday. On the first day of her trip, she visited the Big Chiayi