Yunlin County OKs 2-year grace period on raw coal ban
The Yunlin County Government announced Friday that factories in the western coastal county will be given a period up to two years to stop burning raw coal, following the June 10 implementation of a ban on the practice.
The decision to grant a grace period, however, was not well received by environmentalists or the consultative committee of the Yunlin County Government, which argued that it was nothing more than a concession to Formosa Plastics Group that owns the coalburning Sixth Naphtha Cracker plant in Mailiao.
After a meeting with executives of the plant Friday, Yunlin County Deputy Magistrate Jennifer Chang said a 2-year grace period will be extended to all factories in the county and that the decision was not a special favor to Formosa Plastics.
The county government is committed to enforcing the ban for the good of the environment, she said.
During the grace period, Yunlin factories will be expected to make improvements such as adjusting their production process, upgrading their facilities and adopting the use of less hazardous fuels, Chang said.
After the local government elections in Taiwan last November, six city and county governments in central and southern Taiwan took up the environmental issue, which had been raised by civil groups during the campaign period, and signed a joint declaration in support of a total ban on the burning of raw coal and petroleum coke.
The local governments, namely Taichung City, Yunlin County, Changhwa County, Chiayi County, Chiayi City, and Tainan City, are all seats held by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
The Yunlin County government, one of the initiators of the joint declaration, enacted the relevant statutes in early June and submitted them to the national Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) for reference.
In response, the EPA cautioned against the effects of the statues on local manufacturing industries and suggested that Yunlin refer to the central government’s laws on energy management, air pollution and basic environmental protection. The local government should also make sure that its statutes are not in conflict with the central government’s policies, the EPA said.