Taipei, April 27 (CNA) State-owned Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) President Lee Han-shen apologized in person to villagers in Hualien County Friday for conducting a geological exploration project not far from their homes without notifying them or local authorities.
Amid demonstrations by local residents who voiced anger over Taipower's secret project, Lee personally watched as Taipower workers sealed the wells on the site to officially terminate the project.
Lee also signed an agreement to declare his company's respect for the Indigenous Peoples Basic Law and the rights of indigenous people who live in the region.
The residents then erected a commemorative stele on the capped wells.
Lawmakers in mid-April revealed that Taipower was undertaking the project near the remote town of Sioulin, and some people alleged that it was being done to pave the way for building a nuclear waste storage facility there.
Taipower responded on April 17 that the project was only aimed at studying the long-term geological stability of the granite rocks in the region and had nothing to do with radioactive waste storage.
Not impressed by the assurances, Sioulin Township chief Hsu Shu-yin led a group of residents to Taipei to protest the project, vowing to safeguard the homeland of the people living there.
Hsu demanded that Taipower publicly apologize, seal all the wells on the exploration site and put its commitment to respect the Indigenous Peoples Basic Law in writing.
On Friday, Hsu said the township would stop renting town-owned land to the company to set up transmission towers if Taipower carried out such projects without permission again.
(By Andrew Liu and Jamie Wang)