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Yunlin magistrate promulgates ban on burning coal, petcoke

2015/06/10 16:37:11

(File photo, courtesy of the Yunlin County Government)

Taipei, June 10 (CNA) Yunlin Magistrate Lee Chin-yung (李進勇) on Wednesday promulgated regulations to ban the burning of coal and petroleum coke by factories that were passed by Yunlin County Council last month.

The regulations will take effect June 12, and petcoke will be banned one year after that date, with coal to be banned two years later.

Lee noted that after promulgating the regulations, the county government will send them to the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) for reference. If the EPA thinks they contradict the law, the county government will ask for a constitutional interpretation to confront the EPA.

It is generally believed that the county government's move is targeting the Formosa Plastics Group's (FPG's) six naphtha cracker plant in the county, which generates power from burning coal and petcoke.

Some have expressed concern that after the regulations are put into effect, FPG might be forced to move out of the county, resulting in massive job losses.

The EPA and the Ministry of Economic Affairs also disagreed with the move, noting that energy issues should be left to the central government for overall consideration and that if each local government has its own way, the nation could face the crisis of insufficient electricity.

Yunlin is the most seriously affected county by PM2.5 fine particulates that pose a risk to health -- 40 percent of which are said to come from other cities and counties. The remainder comes from plants, construction sites, outdoor burning and passing vehicles, according to the county government.

The county government also said that related research has shown that burning coal and petcoke is the main source of particulates and produces potential carcinogenic materials.

(By Chiang Chun-liang and Lilian Wu)