The ruling Democratic Progressive Party's massive setback in the recent elections has led to a reshuffle of key party members. Minister of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Lee Ying-yuan was among the list of officials who were approved to resign from their posts. He said that he will shoulder his responsibility while stressing that, it was difficult for Premier William Lai to let him go. Many local environmental groups believe that both Lee and Premier Lai need to be held responsible for forcing through the construction project of the third natural gas station of CPC Corporation despite environmental concerns.
Minister of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Lee Ying-yuan was among the list of officials who were approved to resign from their posts. Lee will no longer attend sessions at the Legislative Yuan, but he still comes to the EPA to work on Monday. Asked whether he feels bad about leaving his post, Lee said that he will shoulder his part of the responsibility.
(Do you feel bad or difficult to leave your post?) Not really. As a government official, when it's time to shoulder my responsibility, I will do so.
Many believe the controversy over the worsening of the air quality in Taichung City was one of the main reasons why the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) suffered setback during the elections. Lee reiterated the goal for improving air quality across Taiwan, and stressed that it was difficult for Premier William Lai to make the decision to let him go.
He really didn't want to let me go, it's true. It's impossible to immediately remove all harmful particles in the air and restore the blue skies. But people should observe closely. The air quality remains bad because there's no wind. That's God's will, and I can't defy God's will.
Before the local elections, environmental groups held multiple protests over environmental disaster that harm the local coral reef ecology. Lee became the head of the EPA after President Tsai Ing-wen took office. As the EPA Minister, Lee twice promised that he will bear the responsibility if the improvement of air quality does not reach the preset goal. However, his policies on reducing the burning of incense have angered local religious groups, and his policy on phasing out older motorcycles has drawn criticism from motorcycle riders. The construction plans of a coal-fired power plant in Shenao and the third natural-gas terminal of CPC were both forced through despite environmental concerns. The move has drawn massive protests from local environmental groups.
Lee Ying-yuan has destroyed the EPA. He had a hand in organizing the environmental assessment meetings, which in turn helped push through the construction project of the third natural gas terminal of CPC. That was the reason for so much protests in recent months.
The environmental groups believe that, during his term in office, Lee Ying-yuan has ruined the public's trust in the environmental assessment system, which led to multiple protests. The groups believe Lee and Premier William Lai should be responsible for the environmental issues.