A campaign to start a referendum against a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project near an algal reef off Taoyuan has been extended to Wednesday next week, after generating massive support over the past few days, campaigners said yesterday.
State-run utility CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC) is building an LNG terminal off the coast of Datan Borough (大潭) in the city’s Guanyin District (觀音), a project that was approved by the Environmental Protection Administration in 2018.
The Rescue Datan’s Algal Reefs Alliance is making a last-minute push to secure the needed 350,000 signatures so that the referendum to conserve the reef can proceed to the next stage of the process and reach a vote in August, it said.
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 campaign was originally to end yesterday so the alliance could start reviewing the submissions to meet the Central Election Committee’s March 17 deadline.
However, after collecting about 240,000 signatures, the alliance urged supporters to continue submitting signatures until Wednesday next week.
The campaign, which started last year, had been relatively low-key until recently, when an increasing number of celebrities and political figures spoke out in support of preserving the reef.
The alliance said it has been receiving new signatures at a rate of 30,000 to 60,000 per day over the past few days.
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said earlier this week that every effort has been made to avoid environmental damage caused by the LNG project, while securing the country’s energy supply.
“We want to stop the coal-burning generation of electricity as soon as possible to cut carbon emissions, so this is a choice we had to make,” Su said.
For instance, the government has already minimized the impact on the reef by reducing the construction area of the proposed LNG station by 90 percent, from the 232 hectares approved by the previous Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration, he said.
The government would also establish a fund to protect the reefs, he added.
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