Taitung County Development Plan Ruled Illegal

Taitung County Development Plan Ruled Illegal
Miramar Resort Hotel Co. Photo Credit: Taiwan Environmental Information Center

What you need to know

The Taitung County government promoted the build-operate-transfer (BOT) project of Shanyuan Bay in 2004, permitting Miramar Resort Hotel Co to develop the beach area. After coming to five litigations, the people and the environmental groups finally stopped the construction in 2013. Moreover, Taitung government was proved illegal in four of them, with the most recent one announced on March 31.

Translated and compiled by Shin-wei Chang

In 2004, the Taitung County government started to promote the build-operate-transfer (BOT) project of Shanyuan Bay, allowing Miramar Resort Hotel Co to build a hotel to attract tourists.

However, environment protection groups and the residents said its environmental impact assessment (EIA) review was done recklessly. In fear that the construction plan would harm the environment, the residents have came to five litigations against the government, trying to stop the project from taking effect since 2004.

Ruled illegal in 2012 by the Supreme Administrative Court, the Taitung County government passed the second EIA review, causing disagreements among the residents again. With the aid of environmental groups, the people came to litigations once again.

Last October, Kaohsiung High Administrative Court withdrew the approval of the EIA review by Taitung County government and the latter soon appealed against it. On March 31, the Supreme Administrative Court rendered the judgment of revoking the appeal of the government.

Chen Chin-hu, deputy governor of Taitung County, says they examined the EIA review according to the law and he would respond to it after reading through the verdict. Miramar Resort Hotel Co says, “We would like the government to instruct us on how to develop the area.”

Currently, the area has been stopped from construction since 2013.

Other economic development controversies

In 2008, a dilemma between economic development and environment protection also took place in Eastern Taiwan. The controversy of SuHua Freeway, a freeway connecting Suao and Hualien, heated when the government passed its EIA review. The route passes through a national park and several ecological preservation zone, thus the protestors believed that the harm brought by the freeway was far more than the economic benefit.

Another controversy about the construction of Kuo Kuang Petrochemical Plant was widely discussed in Yunlin County and Changhua County in 2010. While the government emphasized that Taiwan needed another plant for its petrochemical industry, the people and environmental groups strongly protested against it, for it would be harmful to air quality, ecology environment and the habitat of critically endangered Chinese White Dolphins.

Both cases triggered huge backlash from the people and the government shelved the two cases.

Edited by Olivia Yang

Sources:
Apple Daily
Liberty Times Net
UDN News
CNA
Commonwealth Magazine Video


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