Monday, October 8, 2007

More on the Environmental Impact Review Committee Meeting

They say they're not there? A humpback dolphin in the inshore waters around the Formosa Plastics Plant at Mailiao, Yunlin County: Photo courtesy of FormosaCetus Research & Conservation Group.

The Taiwan EPA's Environmental Impact Assessment Commission held the 156th meeting on 1 October 2007. Two cases reviewed are of particular interest to those concerned with the Hushan Dam issue and the plight of the humpback dolphins living along the coast of western Taiwan. Namely, the coal fired power plant in Taichung next to the Wu (Dadu) River estuary, and the Formosa Steel Plant next to the Formosa Plastics Plant which abuts the Jhuoshui River estuary.

Although several commissioners questioned the power plant's viability in light of central Taiwan's already exceeding its emissions limit, the chair (Minister of the EPA, Winston Dang) quickly gave the project approval. The plant must still go through a competitive privatization procedure at the end of the year before it can be finalized. The Formosa Steel Plant had been recommended by the previous commission for a second phase evaluation, however, the EPA has announced that the commission chose to go against that recommendation and instead instructed the EIA department of the EPA to put together another subcommittee to review the case as part of the first phase process. Second phase EIA's are considered more stringent and require considerably more public participation. The developers claimed during the meeting that there are no humpback dolphins off the shore of Yunlin despite environmental groups having passed out posters to the commissioners showing dolphins against the background of Formosa's Yunlin petrochemical plant.

Also see:
Environmental Impact Review Committee Meeting
Formosa Steel Plant update

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