Yesterday, former Academia Sinica president Lee Yuan-tseh spoke out against a Kuokuang Petrochemical project saying "the nation would head in the wrong direction if the plant were to be built."
The appeal by Lee to cancel the Kuokuang Petrochemical project was endorsed by 18 Academia Sinica members as well as 1173 university professors in Taiwan and the United States.
Since Friday's High Administrative Court order that the Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP) halt all expansion activities pending a ruling on two ongoing lawsuits the petrochemical industry has been howling like the spoiled child it is making claims that "Taiwan may be the only country in the world where national policy can be so easily overturned," "investors could be scared away," and "the country's competitive edge may be negatively impacted." It seems that it is beyond the comprehension of the petrochemical industry that perhaps the people of Taiwan have had enough of soaring cancer rates, toxic rivers and countryside, grey smog-filled skies, seized farmlands and unscrupulous greedy business executives; and that sacrificing the environment and their traditional way of life for a bunch of corporations to make an unsustainable quick buck just isn't worth it.
The Government was once again showing signs that it was likely to once again just ignore a high court ruling. Premier Wu Den-yih said yesterday that "businesses located in the third-stage expansion project at Central Taiwan Science Park in Houli would not be affected by Friday's ruling." Yet court made it clear that both production and further development in Houli must be suspended. Wu then showed nothing short of blatant contempt for the nation's legal system by calling into question the High Administrative Court judges' professionalism saying there was a possibility the judges did not fully understand issues related to environmental impact assessments.
One has to wonder just what Premier Wu is up to, considering that on Friday while commenting on the second Formosa fire, President Ma Ying-jeou cited the Basic Environmental Act which states that environmental protection should be the priority if any economic or technological developments cause damage to the environment. Ma went on to stress that his administration would handle related issues by adhering to the act.
Wu seems to have lost sight of the fact that he is the nation's premier and not the ambassador for Taiwan's petrochemical industry. With seizing land, telling corporations to ignore court rulings, questioning the competence of judges, telling pink dolphins to just make a turn, seemingly ignoring the policy of the president to put the environment first when economic or technological developments cause damage to the environment. Does Wu think he's above both the president and judiciary?
For more on the Kuokuang Project see Academics speak out against new Kuokuang plant.
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