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Uni-President's planned park ordered to undergo 2nd environmental study

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA, 環保署) yesterday ruled that a second round of assessment is required on amusement park development plan by a subsidiary of the Uni-President conglomerate (統一).

In addition to its staggering 152-hectare footprint, the amusement park's location is planned within a protected zone that serves as the water source of Zengwen River (曾文溪), for which reason the EPA said that, a more stringent second round of assessment would accordingly be required.

The proposed site of the amusement park was also deemed by the Ministry of the Interior to be extremely sensitive to environmental pollution, in a rezoning plan completed on Oct. 17.

According to environmental organizations who oppose the plan, the amusement park is tantamount to a repeat of the ongoing controversy over the excessive land-utilization at Nantou's Cingjing Farm (清境農場). Environmental groups expressed disappointment that the conglomerate's development proposal has not been rejected outright by governing bodies, and vowed to preserve Taiwan's natural resources.

A company spokesperson expressed regret at the outcome, as approval has been delayed for a decade. The company stated that the amusement park is designed to utilize low-density development, with goals to preserve over 50 percent of greenery at the site while maintaining a “zero pollution” policy. The company also emphasized that the amusement park's site does not reside within the restricted zones surrounding Nanhua Dam (南化水庫), and Ching-Mien Reservoir (鏡面水庫集水區).

Meanwhile, the Taiwan Water Resources Protection Union (TWWPU, 台灣水資源保育聯盟) questioned whether the government is colluding with the company, as the proposal has been listed among the nation's major developments. The TWWPU also railed against TaiSugar Company's (台糖) decision to release agricultural land parcels, including the amusement park's site for industrial and commercial applications, adding that all similar proposals should be revoked henceforth.

A Tainan-based environmental organization expressed doubt on the company's claims that the amusement park will be able to achieve a “zero pollution” and “100-percent waste recycling” operation.

Members of the EPA's assessment committee stated that they ruled that a second round of evaluation is required as wastewater collection and processing plans for the amusement park supplied by the company were deemed inadequate.

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