A First for Taiwan: Supreme Administrative Court Upholds Decision to Void Central Science Park EIA

A First for Taiwan: Supreme Administrative Court Upholds Decision to Void Central Science Park EIA – Farmers, Lawyers Associations, Social Groups Petition Control Yuan to Investigate EPA Officials’ Misconduct, Demand Minister’s Resignation

On 22 January 2010 Taiwan’s Supreme Administrative Court rocked Taiwan’s Executive by upholding a lower court’s ruling that the environmental impact assessment approval issued by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) for a major high-tech industry construction project was void. The decision strikes a blow against one of Taiwan’s sacred cows, the expansion and development of what are euphemistically called “science parks.”

However, despite the decision, and in an extension of its nearly four year epic of ignoring calls from farmers, academics, environmentalists and the courts, the EPA seems to have “gone rogue”; instead of looking at the issues on which the courts based their decisions, public health threats for example, the EPA has engaged in what appears to be a drug-induced orgy of self denial, legal fantasy and political blame shifting, prompting some observers to ask, “what are they smoking down there on Chunghua Road?”

A number of social advocacy groups will be holding several activities tomorrow (Feb. 4, 2010):

At 1030 am Gathering in front of Executive Yuanà Marching to Control Yuan #2 Sec. 1 Chung Hsiao East Road, Taipei, representatives the farmers of Taichung that brought the action against the EPA, former commissioners, and lawyers and law scholars will speak to the press and public before delivering a petition to the Control Yuan requesting an immediate investigation into 1) illegalities and negligence of officials within the EPA and commissioners involved with the Central Science Park/Third Phase/Cising Site environmental impact assessment, and 2) what the groups allege is the extremely creative but seriously flawed interpretations of law that the EPA has conjured up to avoid ordering the immediate cessation of the development project in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Act.

Speakers will include: Lawyer for the plaintiffs LIN, San-chia; representatives from the plaintiffs, a group of six farmers from Hou-li Taichung; Dr. CHOU, Chin-cheng and Dr. Gloria Hsu, both professors at Taiwan’s leading university, and both of whom were serving as commissioners at the time the project passed; representatives from the Judicial Reform Foundation and the recently-formed Environmental Jurists Association.

1330 “EPA, are you illiterate or just numb?”, will be held in front of the Environmental Protection Administration, 83, Zhonghua Rd. Sec. 1, Zhongzheng District, Taipei.

Whereas the plaintiffs and civic groups have faith in the ability of the Control Yuan to make a fair and full investigation, they have been appalled at the actions and statements of the EPA.

The EPA has showed contempt for the judiciary, engaged in outrageous abuses of authority such that the people affected by the negligence, arrogance and “screw you” attitudes of EPA officials have really had enough, and want to vent their anger and frustration at the EPA and EPA officials, in particular the Minister Steven Shen, who is believed to routinely stay up late at night crafting responses to negative press reports and answering accusations from the public.

The groups are demanding: 1. Within three days the EPA shall order all work stop on the Central Science Park development in accordance with the law and decisions of the courts; and 2. Since it is now eminently clear that Minister Shen is incompetent to such an extent – his handling of this case as well as the fourth phase Central Science Park being but two examples in a long history of “environmental poaching” –ignoring the health and environmental safety of the people -, he must immediately step down.

All reporters are welcome

Contacts:

Taiwan Environmental Action Network, Kathy LEE 0973350972

Green Party Taiwan, PAN Han-sheng 0935295815

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