On Friday the Taiwan High Administrative Court ordered the Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP) to halt all expansion activities pending a ruling on two ongoing lawsuits. This is indeed a reason to celebrate and definitely a step in the right direction. The controversial expansions of the CTSP at Erlin and Houli have raised the hackles of local fishing and farming communities and environmentalists alike. Hopefully this ruling will be a victory for Taiwan's environment and fishing and farming communities on the west coast.
However, we remember well how in January the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) just ignored the Supreme Administrative Court's decision to void the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the expansion of the CTSP and just carried on with the project. How will the Government and its EPA react to this ruling? Will the respect the court's decisions? For more on Friday's court ruling see Siangsiliao farmers win land reprieve and Park expansion could exclude Siangsiliao to see what Premier Wu Den-yih, the man that wants to train the critically endangered pink dolphins 'to just turn a corner' to avoid the planned CTSP Kuokuang harbor.
Pressure from local communities and environmental groups may be beginning to take their toll in the controversial CTSP expansions. On Friday, chairman of the Chinese National Federation of Industries, Preston Chen, said he would quit investing in the Kuokuang petrochemical project because of continued delays. See Tycoon pulls investment out of Kuokuang project.
In other news, operations at one of the Formosa Plastics Group's oil refining units at Mailiao in Yunlin County would remain suspended until the cause of last Sunday's fire has been identified and rectified.
In commenting on the second Formosa Plastics fire, Taiwan 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 then said his administration would handle related issues by adhering to the act. His administration hasn't been doing very much of that. Does this mean that the EPA is going to respect the court's decision on the CTSP? Or, is this just politicking in the wake of the Formosa fire? Perhaps he thinks all those irate communities and environmentalists might add up to costing him several votes in the next election. Also, it just doesn't look to good for Ma to be seen cosing up to Formosa Plastics, 2009 winners of the infamous Black Planet award after two fires in the space of a month, does it? For more, see Formosa plant suspended until cause of blaze found.
Dapu farmland seizures
KK Petrochemical Plant: Why Should the White Dolphins “Just Go Around It”?
The saga of the CTSP Erlin Science Park and the Kuokuang Petrochemical Project
Academics against new Kuokuang plant
Wu the Kuokuang Petrochemical executive continues to forget he's the Nation's Premier
EPA to abide by court ruling on science park but....
EPA and NSC appeal High Administrative Court order
Government defies the courts with the President's blessing
Plans to buy another 800 hectares of wetlands to save pink dolphin habitat and to protect threatened birds and marine life
Isn’t It Time the Legal Community Spoke Up?
Science park development at Houli gets the nod
Photos: EPA gives Phase 3 CTSP the nod even if the courts say no.