FPG told to redo environmental impact assessment on 6th cracker plant

Taipei--The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) has instructed Formosa Plastics Group (FPG, ????), one of Taiwan's leading conglomerates, to conduct another environmental impact assessment report for an expansion plan of its sixth naphtha cracking plant, located in Yunlin County.

The decision came after an EPA environmental impact assessment committee held a meeting Wednesday, ruling to turn down the company's original report, saying that it failed to meet EPA requirements.

FPG has long been planning to expand its sixth cracker plant with a total of NT$17 billion (US$554 million) in investment, but its report on the project's possible impact on the environmental has been repeatedly rejected by the authorities.

In addition, local environmental protection groups have raised concerns over the impact on the environment resulting from the new investment plan.

According to the EPA, the latest FPG report failed to address how the investment plan will cut air and water pollution and reduce toxic substances caused by certain petrochemical products such as butadiene.

In July 2012, the FPG secured approval for an earlier environmental impact assessment report on part of the sixth cracker plant expansion plan due to its efforts in cutting carbon emissions, and the latest EPA meeting confirmed the 2012 approval, so that the group has only been allowed to carry out a part of the investment plan that is worth NT$7.88 billion.

The investment will be carried out by Formosa Plastics Corp. (??), the flagship entity of FPG, to generate about NT$6.2 billion in production value per year. The remaining investment will be conducted by Formosa Plastics, its affiliates Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp. (??) and Nan Ya Plastics Corp. (??), as well as other 12 petrochemical firms.

In response to the EPA's decision, FPG expressed regret and disappointment. The group said that the expansion plan will use an upgraded production process to make it more energy efficient, and more importantly, the new investment addresses the problem of cutting pollution, adding that the group could not figure out why the latest report was rejected and why environmental protection groups still voice opposition to the new investment.

The local media reported Thursday that FPG is considering the feasibility of dropping the expansion plan altogether.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel