Taipei, March 25 (CNA) The project to construct a third runway at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport passed an Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) environmental impact assessment Wednesday, a move that drew protests from several environmental protection groups, citing multiple flaws in the project.
The project was approved by an EPA environmental impact assessment meeting after facility operator Taoyuan International Airport Corp. (TIAC) promised to strengthen disaster prevention and control measures and hold one aircraft rescue or firefighting drill a year, given that the location is close to an oil storage facility at nearby CPC Corp.
The company also promised to conserve more than 1,000 trees in the project area, by transplanting them to a different location when work starts and returning them to the site at a later date.
However, environmental protection groups issued a joint statement saying that the committee passed the project without conducting a thorough assessment of risks posed by the CPC oil depot or relocation fees for land expropriation.
It is estimated that 2,599 hectares of land will have to be expropriated for the project and an estimated 6,190 households with more than 16,000 residents be forced to relocate, according to the statement.
The groups said they do not rule out the possibility of filing an appeal for an administrative remedy.
Meanwhile, the company said that building a third runway is part of the airport's efforts to expand its facilities and upgrade services in accordance with the government's Taoyuan Aerotropolis project and to boost the local economy.
It contended that as the airport is the country's main gateway there is an urgent need for a third runway. In addition, after the third runway, which is on the north side, is built, the runway on the south side will be used less frequently, thereby reducing air and noise pollution.