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EPA head blasts lax enforcement of environmental laws
Central News Agency
2013-12-16 11:18 PM
Taipei, Dec. 16 (CNA) Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) head Stephen Shen said Monday that it is time to "strengthen the ethics" of environmental protection officials in charge of inspecting sites and disciplining violators. Many companies are repeat offenders, and the will of local governments to enforce the law has been called into serious question, Shen said following the recent exposure of several water-polluting incidents. One of the factories of Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc., the world's largest IC packaging and testing services provider, has been accused of discharging untreated wastewater into a river used for irrigation, and several electroplating factories in Changhua County have been found to be releasing toxic chemicals into the environment. Shen said that according to EPA statistics, ASE was found to have violated environmental protection laws 23 times from 2011 to the end of November this year. Among them, 18 violations were discovered by the Kaohsiung City government, and five were found by the EPA task force. Only twice was the company handed the maximum fine of NT$600,000 (US$20,248), he said. After assessing fines, the inspectors did not enter the plants to conduct further inspections, Shen said, describing this "fine and run" approach as tantamount to condoning the pollution, he said. Shen said the EPA has turned over the cases to the Agency Against Corruption (AAC) under the Ministry of Justice for investigation. The AAC should look into such things as why a plant's capacity to handle wastewater was allowed to remain the same even as the facility's production capacity was growing. (By Zoe Wei and Lilian Wu)
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