Yun­lin County OKs 2-year grace pe­riod on raw coal ban

The China Post - - LOCAL -

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.

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