CPC receives conditional approval from EPA to revamp third naphtha cracker in Kaohsiung

State-owned Chinese Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has received conditional approval from the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to revamp its third naphtha cracker in Kaohsiung County's Linyuan Township. This decision has angered environmentalists who have accused the EPA of deciding on the matter before commencement of a review. In 2005, an environmental impact assessment (EIA) process for the renewal proposal commenced for the plant built in 1974. As per a ruling in October, the EIA panel returned the case to its case committee, saying that if CPC still wanted to begin the project, it needed to go through a new EIA. Environmentalists have opposed the, and have called EIA panelists to "be fair and unaffected by government pressure to pursue economic prosperity." According to the ruling, CPC can begin the renewal, a NT$6.5 bln (US$196 mln) project next year and build a new unit that will triple the production of the old facility from 230,000 tpa of polystyrene to up to 800,000 tpa. CPC has promised that the volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions will be reduced from the 2,345 tpa to 2,200 tpa at the new plant, a 10% reduction. However, the EIA panel also mandated several conditions for CPC before it could start construction, including promising to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 54 percent, and planting trees to neutralize the remaining emissions so that the total reduction would be at least 60 percent. The EIA demanded that the CPC conduct an epidemiological investigation as well as conduct a health risk evaluation of the refinery for local residents.
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