Allegations of thousands of under-reported storage tanks explained by FPG
By Ted Chen, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Formosa Plastics Group (FPG, 台塑) yesterday issued a statement explaining allegations that it had underreported the number of storage tanks at its No. 6 Naphtha Cracker Complex (六輕) in Mailiao Township (麥寮).
September 13, 2013, 12:06 am TWN
The company stated that the discrepancy in the number of storage tanks is merely misunderstanding, as many structures storing air, rain and residual water closely resemble storage tanks.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had previously deployed unmanned aerial vehicles to take bird's eye view photos of FPG's sprawling 2,600-hectare industrial complex, which revealed that there are 3,129 storage tank-like structures on the premises, exceeding the company's reported figure by at least 1,000.
According to the EPA, the company has been approved to operate 1,836 storage tanks under the terms of air pollution allowance, and has received a total of 2,205 storage tanks operating licenses. The EPA stated that it will launch a comprehensive on-site investigation to confirm its findings from aerial photographs.
A Yunlin County council member railed against the company, suspecting that it has underreported the amount of storage tanks on its premises in an attempt to evade taxation. According to the council member, the company last year paid NT$380 million in taxes for operating 1,200 storage tanks classified by the EPA as taxable, average at NT$300,000 per tank annually. At 1,000 storage tanks in excess, the company stands to evade upwards of NT$150 million, even if only half of those tanks are deemed taxable, said the council member. He added that the company's intent is reprehensible in light of the potential damage to local fishermen in the event of a leak of contaminants.
Meanwhile, Yunlin County-based environmental scholars have been urging government bodies to look into the matter, and demand the decommissioning of the storage tanks if needed.