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Government Gave Power Plant Right To Pollute More

SCMP – Friday October 8 2004

China Light and Power omits certain details in the letter from Daisy Chan (‘CLP has made significant cuts in emissions’, October 6).

Compare the CLP-ExxonMobil coal power plant at Castle Peak to Hong Kong Electric’s most recent Lamma Island coal plant (built in 1997). You will see that CLP has been given the right by Secretary for Labour and Economic Development Stephen Ip Shu-kwan to generate twice the amount of one pollutant (particulates), three times another (nitrogen oxides) and 10 times a third (sulphur dioxide) as the Hong Kong Electric plant.

Moreover, the actual emissions from the Castle Peak plant are kept secret by the government at the request of CLP. At any time since 1997, CLP could have spent a fraction of its profits to clean up this plant, but it has instead waited for seven years – and now it has sent a letter to Mr Ip asking that it be allowed to earn 15 per cent profit on its investment to clean up the sulphur dioxide. This is unconscionable. The Star Ferry only asks seven per cent profit for its shareholders.

And the real question is why Mr Ip has allowed CLP to force us to suffer for seven years when the technology has existed for more than 10 years to reduce the sulphur dioxide by more than 90 per cent.

The public is not allowed to see or have an opinion on CLP’s letter. We believe that we are entitled to know what profits Mr Ip thinks are acceptable to CLP and that he will be hard-pressed to justify more than a seven per cent return for the shareholders of CLP-ExxonMobil, the single biggest polluter in Hong Kong.


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