On 28 July 2009, the EPA formulated the Offset Principles for the Increased Greenhouse Gas Emissions Caused by Development Activities (審查開發行為空氣污染物排放量增量抵換處理原則) for enterprises and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Committee to refer to during reviews. The draft revision, proposed at the end of 2020, followed the approaches of the Air Pollution Control Act by removing street cleaning and sweeping offsets and adding a mechanism for obtaining offsets through collaboration with competent authorities as well as industry competent authorities. A triple-win situation for developers, competent authorities, and the environment can be achieved this way.
During the last meeting held on 7 December 2020, participating civil organizations worried that offsets across different air quality zones would cause air pollution deterioration in the south and that offsets for emissions calculated with different methods were unfair. The EPA originally proposed the cross-zone offsets on the basis that air pollution flows freely and that cutting down emissions in counties and cities in the upstream air quality zones would not only lower air pollution in these zones, but would also improve air quality in those downstream zones. Considering the concerns raised by the public about cross-zone offsets, the EPA will continue to communicate with concerned parties and not include it in the revision until an agreement is reached on the multiplying factor for reduced emissions and offset methods.
The EPA stressed that the Principles are merely administrative guidelines, not regulations. The members of the EIA Committee still have the right to require developers to propose more active reduction measures in future EIA reviews, and the Principles will serve only as a reference. In addition, the Principles are still in the formulating and opinion-collecting phase, and the EPA welcomes input from the general public which will be considered in future revisions.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, Feb 2021
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)