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EPA head tenders resignation over oil spill

2016/03/30 23:10:13

Taipei, March 30 (CNA) Wei Kuo-yen (魏國彥) said Wednesday that he has resigned as head of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and is waiting for Premier Simon Chang (張善政) to accept his resignation.

Wei said, however, that he will continue to attend legislative hearings until the premier accepts his resignation.

The resignation came amid criticism by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Liu Chien-kuo (劉建國) of Wei's handling of the grounding of a container ship off New Taipei on March 10, which caused pollution along the shoreline.

Premier Chang had said that he would not accept Wei's resignation since the EPA head could not be faulted for his handling of the incident.

Moreover, with less than two months to go before the new administration of President-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) takes office, there is no reason to let Wei go now, Chang said.

Liu, meanwhile, said his questions were aimed at pushing Wei to accept responsibility for improper handling of the oil spill from the grounded ship rather than forcing him to resign.

Meanwhile, Minister without Portfolio Hsu Chun-yi ( 許俊逸) convened another meeting of a task force to deal with the pollution from the grounded ship, the T.S. Taipei Wednesday.

He has issued a directive to the EPA and the Ministry of the Transportation and Communications (MOTC) to prod the ship owner to stick to the schedule for cleanup operation.

Efforts to remove oil and fuel from the container ship should be completed by April 1 and containers of dangerous substances aboard the ship should be removed by April 2, Hsu said.

(By Tai Ya-chen and Lilian Wu)