United Daily News: DPP passing buck after 16 years in Kaohsiung
Central News Agency
2014-08-08 10:54 AM
Over the past week, the Kaohsiung City Government has been offering all sorts of excuses to try to evade responsibility for the July 31 gas explosions that killed dozens, saying that the leaking propylene pipeline owned by LCY Chemical Corp. was built when Vice President Wu Den-yih was mayor. Those excuses, however, cannot change the fact that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has governed Kaohsiung for 16 years but has never inspected the city's underground pipelines. That is what left the city administration unaware that a drainage culvert had been improperly built around the LCY pipeline, exposing it to air and moisture that is believed to have caused corrosion. When the leak occurred, the flammable gas was allowed to spread for three hours mainly because the city lacked accurate information on the distribution of underground pipelines and therefore could not notify LCY in time to shut down its pipeline. The city claimed that the LCY pipe could not be found on the official pipeline distribution map and even accused the company of building the pipeline illegally. In fact, the pipeline was originally built by state-run oil company CPC Corp., Taiwan and later transferred to Taiwan Polypropylene Co., which was acquired by LCY in 2006. Any changes in pipeline ownership can be traced by company registration records, and the city government also collects a "road use fee" every year from the pipeline owners, including LCY. In 2012, the city's Mass Rapid Transit Bureau already discovered the LCY pipeline when it was surveying the site as part of a light rail system project. On July 9, a benzene leak occurred after an underground pipeline belonging to CPC was damaged accidentally by the light rail construction work, and LCY was among the three pipeline owners that were notified to shut down their pipeline systems at that time. But during the fateful gas leak on the night of July 31, the Fire Bureau did not tell LCY to shut down its pipeline, and the city even denied any knowledge of the existence of the LCY pipeline, a clear showing of its unwillingness to take responsibility for the incident that killed 30 and left over 300 injured. (Editorial abstract -- Aug. 8, 2014) (By Y.F. Low)
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