Environmentalists are urging the public to sign a petition to push for a referendum to protect algal reefs off the coast of Taoyuan.
State-run utility CPC Corp, Taiwan is building a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal off the coast of Datan Borough (大潭) in Taoyuan’s Guanyin District (觀音), a project that was approved by the Environmental Protection Administration in 2018.
Environmentalists have been opposed to the project, saying the coast is home to algal reefs with a nearly 7,500-year history, as well as other precious ecosystems.
Rescue Datan’s Algal Reefs Alliance convener Pan Chong-cheng (潘忠政) last year initiated a referendum proposal to protect the reefs.
The proposed referendum would ask: “Do you agree that CPC’s LNG terminal should be relocated from its planned site on the algal reef coast of Datan and its adjacent waters?”
The referendum proposal has entered its second stage and campaigners need to collect 350,000 signatures by Sunday, as they need to review the petitions before sending them to the Central Election Commission by the middle of next month, Pan said yesterday.
As of Monday, campaigners had collected more than 96,000 signatures, he said, thanking celebrities for helping to rally support for the issue.
It would be the first referendum about ecological protection in the nation’s history, Pan said, expressing the hope that it would prompt Taiwanese to think about if short-term economic gain outweighs environmental protection.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs, which oversees state-run utilities, has said that the project would not affect habitats on the algal reefs.
CPC on Monday posted images on Facebook that it said showed that the construction of the terminal would not affect the algal reefs.
Guantang Industrial Park and Port remains the optimal venue for building the terminal, whose completion would help satisfy the nation’s demand for electricity and help curb air pollution, it said.
New Power Party Chairwoman Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) yesterday rejected that claim, saying that some of the construction work has affected the algal reefs and that the party would continue to support the referendum proposal.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) is also helping to push for the referendum, saying that future generations should also be able to enjoy the algal reefs.
However, Democratic Progressive Party spokeswoman Chien Shu-pei (簡舒培) yesterday questioned the KMT’s motives for supporting the proposed referendum.
It was a KMT administration that approved the terminal project in 2015, but now the party is supporting a referendum to protect the algal reefs at the site, she said, accusing the KMT of using the referendum as an excuse to propose restarting work on the mothballed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.
OVERHAUL NEEDED: The government should improve its agricultural processing capabilities and expand to new markets to limit its reliance on China, an expert said China’s ban on Taiwanese pineapples was “unsurprising,” and Taiwan should have years ago altered its produce export strategies and target customers, experts said. China on Friday abruptly suspended imports of pineapples from Taiwan, saying that it had on multiple occasions discovered “harmful biological entities” on the fruit. Calling it an “unfriendly” move, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said that 99.79 percent of the pineapples sent to China since last year have met China’s import standards. Chiao Chun (焦鈞), the author of Fruits and Politics — A Recollection of Cross-strait Agricultural Interaction Over the Past Decade (水果政治學：兩岸農業交流十年回顧與展望), said that China’s announcement is clearly targeting
‘NOT COLD ENOUGH’: Schools are disregarding Premier Su Tseng-chang’s instruction that students may wear out-of-uniform clothing to stay warm, an association said An investigative report revealed that 72.5 percent of the nation’s senior-high schools and 95.6 percent of junior-high schools punish students for wearing unapproved winter clothes in contravention of educational guidelines, lawmakers and student rights advocates said yesterday. Speaking at a news conference at the Legislative Yuan, the Taiwan Youth Association for Democracy said there is an endemic disregard for the Ministry of Education’s regulations and that private schools are more likely to contravene ministry rules. The report is a compilation of 2,856 student reports about dress code reinforcement at 425 high schools and vocational high schools, the association said. Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌)
DECADES OF INFLUENCE: Over the past 20 years, China has made inroads with Aborigines, funding political campaigns and trips, a legislator said Lawmakers have called on the National Security Bureau to investigate claims of pervasive Chinese influence among Aboriginal communities. Legislators pointed to a surge in communist propaganda and Chinese-funded projects over the past few years, which they say are aimed at infiltrating and buying political influence among Aboriginal communities. “China has for decades carried out wide-ranging ‘united front’ tactics and propaganda campaigns targeting Aborigines,” said Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ying (陳瑩), a member of the Puyuma community in Taitung County. “Now, they are influencing elections for local councilors and village chiefs, offering money for candidates to mount their campaigns, and to
DISSATISFACTION? If the referendums collect more than 700,000 signatures each, they would have gotten the most signatures in the shortest time, the party said The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) two referendum petitions — one on banning the importation of pork with traces of ractopamine and the other on holding referendums on the same day as national elections — had as of Thursday gathered 691,398 and 674,497 signatures respectively, the party said yesterday. If the petitions collect more than 700,000 signatures apiece, they would have garnered the most signatures in the shortest time since the Referendum Act (公民投票法) was amended in 2017, party officials said. The KMT proposed the “anti-ractopamine pork” or “food safety” referendum just days after President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement on Aug. 28 last