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Official opposes reopen date for ASE's K7 factory

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A Kaohsiung councilor on Wednesday accused the current environmental regulations of creating a loophole for Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Group's (ASE, 日月光) notorious K7 facility to reopen after the Chinese New Year vacation.

Kaohsiung Councilor Hsiao Yung-ta (蕭永達) yesterday said in a press conference that ASE will get the approval of local authorities to reopen its K7 factory that was shut down in mid-December of 2013 for dumping wastewater containing strong acids and heavy metals into the Hou-chin River.

ASE in late 2013 delivered to the Kaohsiung's Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB) a proposal detailing improvements that the company has made or would make in order to secure the resumption of operations at its K7 factory.

As per current regulations, it may take one to two months for a shuttered factory to implement new processes, with an additional month for testing. If that's the case, Hsiao Yung-ta said, the K7 factory could reopen after the Chinese New Year vacation.

Officials from both the EPB and the Legal Affairs Bureau (LAB) of the Kaohsiung City Government denied Hsiao's extrapolation.

Kaohsiung EPB Chief Secretary Chang Jui-hun called Hsiao's judgment unfounded because the initial review board is supposed to enlist the help of experts and academics by law. However, ASE hasn't yet submitted the necessary documents, which makes it impossible for the review to convene before the holiday.

LAB responded that the EPB is obliged to reply to ASE's complaints, which were filed in December 2013, within 20 days. It will be another three months before an initial review board is held by the LAB after receiving the documents transferred from the EPB.

ASE can hardly test new procedures until it gets the approval of the review process in LAB, officials told CNA.

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