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EPA asks wind power firm to move turbine

The Environmental Protection Administration’s (EPA) Environmental Impact Assessment Committee yesterday accepted a motion that German wind power company InfraVest Wind Power Group should change the proposed site of its A1 wind turbine, to be built in Miaoli County’s Houlong Township (後龍), on the basis that it poses a potential threat to the habitat of the threatened Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin.

The company planned to set up four wind turbines in the township, of which the A1 turbine’s proposed site falls in the range of the dolphins’ habitat, which was delimited by the Council of Agriculture (COA) in April.

Council delegates reiterated during a committee meeting yesterday that the company should plan according to the scope of the dolphin’s habitat promulgated by the council, rather than following their own definition of the marine animals’ habitat.

InfraVest public affairs manager Kang Yi-lun (康依倫) said in response that the A1 wind turbine is to be established in docklands and therefore would not endanger the dolphins’ habitat.

The company has in recent years sparked public outrage when it built four wind turbines in Miaoli County’s Yuanli Township (苑裡), a project that residents criticized as being carried out without their consent being sought.

The wind turbines emit loud high-frequency sounds, which local activist groups say have detrimental effects not only on residents, but also on the dolphins.

According to an EPA official who declined to be named, the company has agreed to move the proposed site for the A1 turbine out of the scope of the dolphins’ habitat and look for an alternative.

The official added that the company would deliver a new plan, along with detailed reports on the other three turbines it plans to set up in the township, to the assessment committee for further deliberation.

The Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins live along Taiwan’s west coast, between Miaoli County and Greater Tainan.

With a population of only about 70, the animals face multiple dangers that threaten their survival, such as wastewater discharged by factories and gillnetting.