Wednesday, March 29, 2006

DPP trashing green laws

Sorry about the headline, but I couldn't resist.'s hard to look at the Chen administration these days and not thing two steps back. A recent move now under protest has the Executive Yuan attempting to toss environmental standards by the wayside for a new Formosa Plastics steel plant and other heavy industries.

Here is the beginning of a protest letter from Wild At Heart, an organization backed by the Taipei law firm Winkler and Partners:

In response to the Executive Yuan's bold statement to the press yesterday
that Taiwan's EIA process has become the biggest obstacle to the country's
development, and demanding that major cases such as the Central Taiwan Science
Park, Kuo Kuang Petrochemical Technology Corp. and the Formosa Plastics steel
plant be approved as quickly as possible, this statement raises the most solemn
objections. Such one-sided public statements by the Executive Yuan not only
seriously affect the image of the EIA system, but also interfere in the
independent and professional review system.

According to the Organic Law of the Executive Yuan, the EIA committee
is a body under the EPA responsible for hearing EIA cases. It was set up to
comply with the administrative reform requirements for professional, rather than
political, methods of dealing with complex environmental issues, and to break
down the traditional hierarchical administrative system, making policy decisions
through joint consultation rather than acting on commands from higher
authorities. Therefore, the requirement expressed by the Executive Yuan to the
Council of Economic Planning (COEP) and Development, and even to the Minister of
the EPA, to intervene in the EIA process and “give as much assistance as
possible within the legal limits of their authority”, is a violation of
the division of work amongst the administrative authorities
. Neither of these two bodies has any legal authority whatsoever to
interfere in the workings of the EIA committee, except through a change in the law
by the Legislative Yuan disbanding the EIA committee or
transforming it into a consultancy body with no real decision-making functions.

The letter goes on to say that the Executive Yuan has placed direct pressure on the environmental agency to pass certain projects, generally "bypassing the system" and completely trampling [the] image and dignity" of the EIA Committee.

Anyone who wants to read the whole thing email me. I'll be happy to forward.


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