Coral discovery should halt CPC project

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Coral discovery should halt CPC project

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1 Coral discovery should halt CPC project on Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:22 pm



The environmental impact assessment (EIA) for CPC Corp, Taiwan’s development project in Guantang Industrial Park in Taoyuan should be abolished following the discovery of first-level protected coral in the area last month, groups said yesterday.

CPC was recognized by the Ministry of Economic Affairs as being the largest contributor to the government’s “green” energy program so far this year, pledging to purchase 8 million kilowatt-hours of “green” energy.

The ministry launched the program in 2014 to encourage companies and individuals to purchase “green” power in a bid to promote sources of renewable energy and environmental protection.

The company plans to build its third liquefied natural gas terminal on yet-to-be reclaimed land off Datan Borough (大潭) in the city’s Guanyin District (觀音), adjacent to the industrial park.

“CPC wants to use its EIA approved in 1999 to clear all the barriers to construction,” Taoyuan Local Union director-general Pan Chong-cheng (潘忠政) told a news conference in Taipei yesterday. “However, public perception of environmental issues have changed since then.”

Surrounding the company’s development site in Datan is the Guansin (觀新) reefs ecological conservation area to the south and the Baiyu (白玉) reefs to the north, Pan said, adding that the Taoyuan City Government in October last year proposed listing the latter as a protected area.

While the reef in Datan is not officially protected, Academia Sinica researcher Chaolun Allen Chen (陳昭倫) in June discovered first-level endangered coral Polycyathus chaishanensis in the area.

Following the discovery, they urged the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to abolish the company’s EIA.

Authorities can revoke actions if new information has come to light that shows there might be damage to public interests, Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association lawyer Tsai Ya-ying (蔡雅瀅) said, citing Article 123 of the Administrative Procedure Act (行政程序法).

The EPA can abolish an action within two years after the change occurs, Tsai said.

The groups submitted a petition to the EPA after the news conference.

“Without a formal and professional examination of the local conditions, the EPA cannot hastily abolish the original EIA,” EPA Deputy Minister Chan Shun-kuei (詹順貴) told reporters.

The administration’s EIA committee members, who assumed their posts this month, are to conduct a field investigation in line with the committee’s conclusion regarding CPC’s analysis on June 26 of environmental changes in the area.

While the company was required by Sept. 30 to offer more strategies to reduce the project’s impact on algae reefs, the committee’s investigation might be conducted before then, Chan said, adding that he would respect the committee chairperson’s decision.

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