Taiwan to streamline environmental impact rulings

17 April 2007 08:24  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Taiwan’s environmental watchdog will reveal recommendations next month that may simplify environmental impact studies benefiting petrochemical projects, said a source at the country’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday.


In March, an inter-ministry panel called for the EPA to draw up proposals because of concerns that China Petroleum Corporation’s (CPC) two planned petrochemical complexes and Formosa Plastics Group’s steel plant project were facing delays. 


Ho Mei-yueh, a member of the panel, said a rapid environmental impact assessment procedure needed to be drawn up that adheres to EPA standards.


Taiwan has been facing increasing opposition from communities faced with major construction projects because they are often deemed harmful to human health and the environment. 


The island’s environmental lobby has grown more powerful with CPC facing resistance from locals and activists for one cracker in Houjin, Kaoshiung.


The source at the EPA said it was now under pressure from the ministry-led panel to move away from a “broad brush” approach to rules, towards one that treats specific projects differently.


The source refused to comment whether this change could work in CPC’s favour, helping it secure the Houjin site for its No 5 cracker in the heart of the island's industrial south.


In addition, the agency was also looking at making inspection criteria and standards for impact studies more transparent in order to reduce uncertainty among investors, the source said.


Where a conclusion cannot be reached, the EPA was considering allowing an independent environmental impact assessment committee to adjudicate, the source added.

By: Matt Kovac
+65 6780 4359

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