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Environmentalists protest against coal-powered plant in Changhua

2016/09/18 21:19:50

Taipei, Sept. 18 (CNA) Thousands of people led by groups including Air Clean for Taiwan and the Changhua Environmental Protection Union marched in protest in Changhua County on Sunday, calling for the local government not to renew a permit for operating a coal-powered plant.

The Formosa Chemical and Fibre Corporation (FCFC) has applied for a permit to keep operating the boilers of its combined heat and power (CHP) plant, while the current permit will expire on Sept. 28.

Local environmental groups said emissions from the plant's boilers, which burn black coal, cause air pollution in Changhua City, the seat of the central Taiwan county, and called for the county government not to renew its operation permit.

Lawmaker Chen Su-yueh (陳素月) of ruling Democratic Progressive Party and Legislators Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) and Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) of the opposition New Power Party also took part in the march which ended in front of the Changhua County government office.

Yeh Guang-perng (葉光芃), founder of Air Clean for Taiwan, and others were invited to negotiate with Changhua Magistrate Wei Ming-ku (魏明谷) and Chiang Pei-ken (江培根), head of the Changhua Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB), in the local government office that afternoon.

The county government said after the negotiation that the EPB will call a meeting of experts and scholars to assess how to reduce the amount of black coal consumed by FCFC's plant in three days' time.

The EPB will send a team to the plant to investigate and draft a report on how to curb its air pollution within one month. Then the report will serve as the main reference for the decision on whether the local government will issue a new permit for the plant's boilers.

The FCFC said in a statement that the local plant is its oldest plant and employs some 1,000 workers. There are about 10,000 people, including employees and its contractors and their families, who depend on the plant for their livelihood. The local economy will be adversely affected if the plant were to close, it said.

(By Wu Tse-hao and Kuo Chung-han)