The Geology Act has now been in force for nearly five years, and on 21 September the EPA announced new environmental impact assessment (EIA) measures for development projects located in geologically sensitive areas announced by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA). In addition to the EIA review committee composed of members specializing in topography and geology, the MOEA’s Central Geological Survey will be invited to assist with reviews. The EPA will also commission professional organizations with professional engineers to provide expert opinions as references for the EIA review committee.
Located on the junction of the Eurasian Plate and the Philippine Sea Plate, Taiwan is subject to the frequent tectonic activity in its region of the Pacific Ocean. A major earthquake in central Taiwan on 21 September 1999, registering 7.3 on the Richter scale, reminded the public of the need for natural disaster preparedness, which includes policies for pre-disaster risk prevention and post-disaster response.
According to the Geology Act that has been in force since 1 December 2011, a land development activity site that is in whole or in part within a geologically sensitive area, shall first undergo a geological site investigation and geological safety assessment before an application for land development is filed. The regulations also stipulate that the documents and diagrams sent for review should contain survey and assessment results. Development activity will thus henceforth be governed through a combination of relevant regulations such as those concerning environmental impact assessments; land use and rezoning; soil and groundwater conservation plans; and the Building Act.
To comply with the Geology Act, environmental impact assessments (EIA) for development projects proposed in geologically sensitive areas announced by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) will be reviewed by an EIA review committee that includes specialists in topography and geology, and the MOEA’s Central Geological Survey will also be invited to assist. Also, in accordance with the Geology Act, professional organizations that have members who have duly obtained certification as professional engineers in the corresponding disciplines shall be commissioned to provide expert opinions for the reference of the EIA review committee. The professional organization’s report shall be included as an appendix to the EIA statements.
While using this opportunity to explain the connection between the Geology Act and the environmental risk assessment review, the EPA also reminds developers to take great care when selecting sites for development. Development in geologically sensitive areas should be avoided to prevent major disasters. The EPA also urges all government agencies to fully implement regulations under their jurisdiction and shoulder their responsibilities for natural disaster prevention and environmental protection.
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)