Chaunghua County site unsuitable for petrochemical complex in view of land subsidence problems

The Control Yuan has found the selected Chaunghua County site unsuitable for a petrochemical complex in view of land subsidence problems in the area. The report states that the available surface water resources in Chaunghua and Yunlin counties of 380,000 tons/day are not sufficient. Water-intensive industries such as the Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology Co project, which needs 400,000 tons/day of water, should not be introduced to the region. One problem that could arise from the Kuokuang project is that more groundwater would have to be pumped to maintain a stable water supply during shortages, which would compromise the effectiveness of measures to improve land subsidence problems. The report said the highest rate of subsidence in Chaunghua County had been observed in Dacheng Township, where the nation’s second-largest wetland was proposed as the location for the Kuokuang project. The subsidence rate there was 6.9 cm per year in 2006 and 1.6 cm per year in 2009. The NT$600 billion (US$20.34 bln) project was initiated by Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology Co., an affiliate of the state-run oil refiner CPC Corp., Taiwan, to expand oil refining capacity and the production of ethylene. Critics said the plan to build the complex in the Dacheng Wetlands in central Taiwan would create losses that outweigh the benefits. The disadvantages include damage to local oyster and eel- farming industries, and health hazards to local residents.
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