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May 28, 2017

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Gov't may fight court's science park ruling

Both the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) and the National Science Council (NSC) yesterday voiced disagreement with a court ruling that revoked the permit for the fourth-phase development plan of the Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP, 中部科學工業園區).

The MOI said that it has not ruled out a plan to appeal the court verdict.

The Taipei High Administrative Court (台北高等法院) on Thursday invalidated the permit issued earlier by the government for the Phase IV development of the CTSP, covering the area of Erlin Township (二林鎮) in Central Taiwan's Changhua County.

The court scrapped the permit on the grounds that the project could threaten the nation's food security by diverting fertile farmland for industrial use.

Cyrus C.Y. Chu, chairman of the NSC, said that the nation's Supreme Administrative Court, a judicial authority that stands above the Taipei High Administrative Court, had already vetoed an earlier request to revoke the permit.

Chu said that it was strange for the Taipei High Administrative Court to hand down a ruling that was the complete opposite of the Supreme Court's earlier conclusions for the same case.

When asked by lawmakers if the NSC will continue the development plan, Chu said the project was already approved by the Executive Yuan (Cabinet). Responding to questions about whether it can attract investors to the science park, Chu noted that some investors in the field of precision machinery equipment have expressed strong interest in investing in the park.

Premier Sean Chen said enterprises are expressing solid demand for land in the development project.

Chen said that up to 80 percent of the affected land has been growing sugar cane. Allocating the dry farm areas will not affect the supply of food for the nation's people, the premier added.

Chu said the development project was approved by the Cabinet, and that the NSC and the MOI will not give up on the plan until the Cabinet does so.

Lin Chi-ling, MOI vice minister, said her ministry respects the administrative court's ruling.

The MOI, however, has not ruled out filing an appeal after carefully studying the ruling.

NSC Vice Chairman Hocheng Hong stressed that all involved parties should avoid becoming emotionally involved with the issue or there will be an endless string of litigation, which would stall the nation's economic development.

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