Environment a priority in Kuokuang plant controversy: Premier

Posted on April 7, 2011. Filed under: International Watch |

http://english.rti.org.tw/Content/GetSingleNews.aspx?ContentID=123070

The future of a controversial petrochemical plant construction site will be determined by a strict environmental impact assessment. That’s the word from Premier Wu Den-yih on Thursday.

The two biggest shareholders in the proposed complex are Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology Co. and CPC Corp., Taiwan. The complex has been the subject of much debate in Taiwan, because it is slated for construction in a wetlands area.

The premier has said, though, that the environment will be a priority when it comes to deciding whether the project should proceed. Government Information Office vice minister Alice Wang explains.

“Premier [Wu] has asked for the economics ministry as well as Kuokuang and CPC Corporation to face the assessments with care and for the health department to conduct the assessments based on professionalism and good conscience,” said Wang. “The interior ministry’s announcement about the wetlands will be carried out in accordance with relevant laws. There are no particular [reasons] for Kuokuang to build the plant there. It must put environmental protection and sustainable national development first.”

Wu said that tackling high-energy consuming industries is a goal of the current administration. He said that protecting the environment is the government’s top priority.

Meanwhile, the economics ministry said that any decision to move the petrochemical plant construction site will come after the environmental assessment. The ministry said that if the plant project moves abroad, the most likely sites will be in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

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