Egat insists on going ahead with Thepa plant

CONSTRUCTION of the Thepa coal-fired power plant is set to begin in the second quarter of next year, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) said, even though many locals have refused to sell their land despite facing threats.

Egat has so far insisted that it will build the 2,200-megawatt power plant in Songkhla's Thepa district, despite strong protests from local people. The Environment and Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) for both the plant and coal transport has also not been approved by the Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning Office (ONEP).

Farglory shopping mall fined NT$6 million for fourth pollution offense

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Farglory Group's (遠雄企業集團) shopping mall was fined NT$6 million for discharging wastewater into a creek for the fourth time on record, local authorities said on Monday.

A 100-meter sheet of white foam was found floating in the Kanggaokeng Creek (康誥坑溪) in New Taipei City last Wednesday, according to New Taipei City's Environmental Protection Department (環保局).

Local authorities said they traced the waste to Farglory's iFG Shopping Mall (遠雄購物中心), where foam had spilled from a wastewater tank into a discharge system intended for rainwater.

CPC criticized over emissions data

State-run oil refiner CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC) failed to seek environmental approval for modifications made to its facility in Kaohsiung Siaogang District (小港) due to emissions issues, environmentalists said alleging that the company made up false emission numbers.

Following the closure of a major CPC oil refinery in Kaohsiung’s Houjin (後勁) area last year, the company proposed to expand a facility in Siaogang’s Dalinpu (大林埔) area to process reformates — substances that are converted from naphtha and used to make gasoline.

Museum expansion slammed

A pre-environmental impact assessment (EIA) inspection of a National Palace Museum expansion project yesterday met with protests from local residents, who said the project poses safety risks and could increase traffic congestion near their neighborhoods because of the flawed design of a parking lot dedicated to tour buses.

Activists slam proposed water pollution act

Water conservationists yesterday protested over a proposed amendment to the Water Pollution Control Act (水污染防治法), which would allow treated household wastewater to be added into groundwater systems.

At a public hearing of an amendment to the act, activists said the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) should prohibit all wastewater from entering groundwater systems and help recycle and process effluent to be reused by industries.

Hotel project fails to pass its review

A hotel project in Taitung County’s Shanyuan Bay (杉原灣) failed to pass an environmental review yesterday, as the development is on an archeological site, while environmental groups said there are too many development plans in the county that could harm the environment.

The Dulan Bay Golden Sea Resort project, which plans to develop an 11.3-hectare area at Shanyuan Bay to build a 500-room hotel complex, is one of six planned hotel projects lining the bay, including the controversial Miramar Resort Hotel and Shanyuan Palm Beach Resort projects.

Shezidao’s future remains uncertain despite vote

Development of the Shezidao (社子島) peninsula in Taipei’s Shilin District (士林) is still up in the air, despite residents voting to support Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) plan to turn the area into an “Ecological Shezidao,” because there remains a difference of opinion over the details of the redevelopment plan.

Results of the poll, which began on Saturday and ended on Sunday, showed that only about 35 percent of eligible voters cast their votes. Among the votes cast, 59.56 percent supported the “Ecological Shezidao” plan. None of the plans gained more than 900 votes.

Wanta’s mining project meets strong resistance

A proposed mining project in Yilan County met with strong opposition at an environmental review yesterday, because of its potential impact on a rare endemic plant and discrepancies in the company’s scope of mining activities.

Wanta Mining Co has proposed estabishing a mining complex on a 12-hectare plot on Dabai Mountain (大白山) in the county’s Nanao Township (南澳). However, the target site is adjacent to a grove of Taiwanese beech trees (Fagus hayatae), a species endemic to Taiwan that falls under the Forestry Bureau’s classification of rare and valuable plants.

Environmentalists slam Asia Cement over skirting laws

Environmentalists and Hsinchu residents yesterday rallied in front of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) in Taipei to protest Asia Cement Co’s perceived maneuvers to circumvent environmental reviews of a proposed mining project in Hsiunchu County’s Guansi Township (關西).

Asia Cement planned to resume mining operations at a quarry in Guansi after the Hsinchu County Government deregulated mineral reserves in the county in 2013.