TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Kaohsiung’s Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB) has dismissed rumors that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is planning to relocate its plant to land owned by China Petroleum Company (CPC) amid concern among locals such a move would force them to leave their homes.
At a press conference held Thursday morning (Jan. 20), several Kuomintang (KMT) legislators called on the city government to clarify the situation, saying the alleged relocation had caused unease in the local community, according to a CNA report.
Legislator Chen Lee-na (陳麗娜) said Kaoshiung’s government had sped up the required pollution containment procedures in order to provide TSMC with the land for the first phase of the plant’s construction. However, Chen contended, the city did not allow the borough chief or local residents to enter and inspect the site, causing rampant speculation.
Chen said it is believed TSMC has doubts about the soil quality at the site and that the company is planning to move the plant to the area around housing and a stadium on CPC-owned land where it will not face such an issue. Most people living on the land only have superficial rights, so they worry they will lose their homes if TSMC builds there.
KMT legislators called for the rights and livelihoods of these 1,157 residents to be upheld. Yet the EPB said pollution containment was progressing on schedule and that there is nothing for the residents to be worried about.
The EPB said the numbers speak for themselves, with the highest recorded benzene concentration being only about 1.04 parts per billion (ppb), far below the legal limit of 40 ppb. The data from the pollution procedure are published on the bureau’s website, and going forward, the bureau said it will communicate all relevant information to the residents.