More Water for Formosa Means Less for Taiwan

According to a report buried on page 20 of the September 29 edition of the Apple Daily, a subcommittee was formed to review Formosa Plastic's application to increase its water allowance from 251,000 tonnes/day to 351,000 tonnes/day. The report continued that the head of the Overall Planning Department, Huang Guanghui, said that the decision of the subcommittee would have to be approved by the plenary commission, which at the soonest will be in mid October. The report appears to have been accurate except that the original approved amount was 257,000 tonnes/day.

Interestingly, this case involves a number of issues that were headline news earlier this year, including the public's right to information about violations by developers of environmental laws or commitments made pursuant to the approval of their environmental impact assessments, whether there is a legal basis for the application by Formosa for a change in the water usage--the original commitment was backed by a pledge from chairman of Formosa Plastics who said they would shut down operations to the extent necessary to meet their commitment to keep water use down, and how on the day after Formosa Plastics chairman's visit to President Chen, the Executive Yuan canceled an NT$7 million dollar fine against the company for violations of its EIA. Just how long are corporations going to be allowed to keep reporting incredible profits each time financial reports are due at the expense of the well being of the environment and ultimately all who live in Taiwan and generations to come?

Well, it isn't surprising, when it is a choice between Wang Yong-cing and Formosa Plastics' need for cheap water and the marine life along the Yunlin coast: Taiwan's government continues to send the message that it wants our country to stay ahead of the competition for the worst environmental record among developed countries in the world, and while we're at it, let's see how quickly we can't get rid of pesky dolphins and Fairy Pittas before there is too much notice taken by the international community.

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