Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Leave Taiwan's future a clean Chuoshui River

Three photos showing protesters outside the Environmental Protection Administration in Taipei yesterday.

Yesterday scores of protesters gathered outside the Environmental Protection Administration's (EPA) offices in Taipei while inside the EPA and developers held a meeting on the planned CTSP Erlin Science Park in Chunghua County western Taiwan. In a sweeping move typical of Ma's authoritarian right wing KMT (Chinese National Party) regime, stakeholders and environmental NGOs were barred from attending and voicing their opinions and concerns at yesterday's meeting because they allegedly disrupted proceedings at a meeting on October 5th. Quite how the EPA arrived at its decision that every stakeholder, concerned local resident and environmental NGO was guilty of such misconduct that they needed to be excluded from the meeting and silenced remains unclear. Such disregard for the rights of free speech, protest and participation in the decision making process of a project that can adversely impact the livelihood of many local residents and cause tremendous damage to the environment can only be held by those who believe in absolute power and that they have no responsibility at all to the common people.

To many the EPA is viewed as nothing more than a rubber stamp administration of the ruling KMT and their powerful developer cronies. The way the EPA is behaving really seems to lend credit to this allegation. At the meeting the EIA subcommittee recommended "conditional approval" for the final review of the fourth phase expansion of the CTSP Erlin project. It is understandable that while local farmers, fishers, residents and other stakeholders were shut outside unable to participate in a process that will destroy their livelihoods, way of life and the environment, that many became very angry. One has to question if this was a deliberate attempt to provoke the locals into a violent response. Unless the KMT regime has other sinister plans to ensure they remain in office, they should seriously consider listing to the people of Taiwan. This is not an isolated incident.

The approval ratings of the Ma regime are rock bottom. The anger at the regime was very clear in the wake of Typhoon Morakot. The recent Yunlin County by-elections showed just what the people of Yunlin County think of the KMT when they overwhelmingly elected the opposition DPP. Yunlin County lies just across the Choushui (Jhoushuei) River. The waste water from the CTSP Erlin Science Park will flow into the Choushui River causing serious pollution problems. The waste water issue was a hot topic in the run up to the by-elections and it would seem the people of Yunlin clearly voiced their opposition to the project by voting the KMT out of office. Shouldn't the KMT be listening?

See today's Taiwan News editorial for more comment on the issue:
Leave Taiwan's future a clean Chuoshui River

Click here to sign the petion against the CTSP Erlin Science Park project.

Also see:
Update: Stop the CTSP Erlin Science Park - Protect Farmers, Fishers and the Taiwan Humpback Dolphins.

Taiwan Humpback Dolphin Extinction Guaranteed by Ma and Wu’s Cat in the Hat Economics?

Black Friday for Erlin - The EPA once again strikes a blow against the environment

The saga of the CTSP Erlin Science Park and the Kuokuang Petrochemical Project

All three effluent discharge proposals for Central Taiwan Science Park development will lead to pollution of humpback dolphin habitat

More protests at the EPA against the CTSP Erlin Science Park

Taiwan's Humpback Dolphins face extinction

EPA responds to local fisherman's Erlin criticisms

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