Taiwan's scheme to boost investment, attract foreign investors, challenged by environmental campaigners and locals

06-Aug-10
Taiwan launched a campaign last month to attract international investment of NT$317 billion to 10 key industries, including high-tech industries, pharmaceuticals and green energy. Taiwan's scheme to boost investment and attract foreign investors is being challenged by environmental campaigners and locals in a series of disputes over major projects. A Taipei court has ordered suspension of expansion of the Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP) in Taichung County in a dispute over its environmental impact evaluation, following a court order on July 30 to halt a CTSP project in Changhua County over a land dispute, as per Xinhua News Agency. In January, Taiwan's Supreme Administrative Court annulled the approval of the environmental impact report of the CTSP Howli project and ordered the environment watchdog to restart the evaluation. Environmental groups and locals have been protesting the risks of water and air discharges from the factories and asking the authorities to review their environmental impact assessments. Environmental issues often trouble highly-polluting traditional industries such as chemical plants and coal-fueled power plants, but now polished electronic industries, which the government actively promotes, are also facing challenges. Failure on part of the authorities to settle the disputes, will seriously harm the confidence of investors. In July, two fires at a petrochemical plant of Formosa Plastics Group in Yunlin sparked protests by local residents concerned about the risks to their health and the environment. A group of 1,173 scholars have signed a letter calling for the blocking of a petrochemical plant of Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology in Changhua County. The administration is evaluating the plant's environmental impact.
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