chemical spill, fish, Fisherman, Formosa, Formosa chemical spill, Formosa Plastics, Formosa spill, Formosa toxic spill, Free Speech, freedom of assembly, Human Rights, industrial spill, Louisiana, pollution, protest, steel, Taiwan, Texas, Vietnam
Formosa is located in the US, as well, where they are being currently sued over water pollution.
“Vietnamese Environmental Activists Handed Prison Terms in Nghe An
A court in north-central Vietnam’s Nghe An province sentenced two environmental activists to prison terms on Tuesday for “abusing democratic freedoms” and obstructing officials in the performance of their duties, sources said.
Hoang Duc Binh, a blogger on environmental issues, was handed a 14-year term under Articles 257 and 258 of Vietnam’s penal code.
Binh was arrested on May 15, 2017, by arresting officers who dragged him from a car more than a year after organizing protests over the government’s response to a waste spill the year before by a Taiwan-owned Formosa Plastics Group steel plant.
The spill killed an estimated 115 tons of fish and left fishermen jobless in four coastal provinces.
Fellow activist Nguyen Nam Phong, a driver for Nghe An-based priest Nguyen Dinh Thuc, meanwhile was sentenced to a two-year term.
No evidence against the two men was ever presented in court, defense lawyer Ha Huy Son told RFA’s Vietnamese Service on Tuesday.
“I argued that Binh was not guilty of ‘abusing democratic freedoms’ as no evidence was brought forward,” Son said.
“Thus, there were no grounds on which to judge whether he was guilty or not, or whether [the charges made against him] were a complete fabrication,” he said.
“Secondly, he was accused of acting against officials on duty, but Binh and Phong both said that they had been attacked [by the arresting officers] and were therefore only acting in self defense.”
“There were no grounds for administrative penalties to be given, let alone any prosecution for criminal liability. We think that Binh was given an unfair sentence, one that does not comply with current law,” he said.
Also speaking to RFA, Binh’s mother Hoang Duc Binh expressed pride in her son, who she said had shown great courage at his trial.
“I am very proud of Binh. He looked at me and smiled,” she said. “I am not afraid or worried for him at all.”
“He and Phong were very calm, and he confidently answered every question that was put to him,” she said.
Supporters beaten, detained
At least twelve people who arrived at the court building to show support were beaten and held at a police station in Nghe An’s Vinh city until the trial ended at 12:00 p.m., sources said, adding that two of Binh’s brothers were among those assaulted by police.
“Several uniformed police officers hit me on my side because I wouldn’t comply with their request to give them my fingerprints or show them what was on my phone,” Binh’s brother Hoang Duc Nguyen told RFA.
“I was in a room pretty far from where my youngest brother was, but I could still hear him screaming as he was beaten,” he said.
“They beat him so brutally that he had to beg for his life.”
“I can’t express how cruel the communist police are,” Nguyen said. “There are no words to describe it.”
Writing before Binh and Phong were brought to trial, the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organization Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR) called Vietnam’s crackdown on dissent last year “unprecedented” and urged greater engagement by Western countries on human rights in the one-party communist state.
“The fact that the EU and the US are more interested in signing business deals than talking about human rights has emboldened Hanoi to harden its attacks on basic civil and political rights,” FIDH Secretary-General Debbie Stothard said in a January statement.
“It’s time for the international community to vigorously re-engage with Hanoi on human rights,” Stothard said.
Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Emily Peyman. Written in English by Richard Finney. https://www.rfa.org/english/news/vietnam/arrest-05152017165544.html Copyright © 1998-2018, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036. https://www.rfa.org.
Formosa’s not just polluting Vietnam, but the US, as well. Apparently not just easier to get air pollution permits in the US, as they state below, but they have had chronic water violations and air pollution discharges, as well. It’s unclear if the air pollution discharges are legal under their “permit”, or not. However, they are being currently being sued for water pollution.
“Taiwan’s Formosa Seeks U.S. Permit for $9.4 Billion Investment By Adela Lin, Sharon Cho and Ann Koh February 20, 2017, 4:21 AM CST
“Formosa Plastics Group is seeking permission from the U.S. state of Louisiana to invest $9.4 billion to build petrochemical plants….
“The expansion in Texas is already underway, which will be completed by 2018, Formosa Plastics Corp.’s Lin said. “Materials are cheaper in the U.S. and it’s easier to get air permits in U.S. than in Taiwan,” he said.” Read the article here:
“Residents sue Formosa for polluting bays By Jessica Priest
July 31, 2017 at 10:21 p.m. Updated Aug. 1, 2017 at 6 a.m.”
“Formosa releases most chemicals in region after hurricane By Jessica Priest Sept. 29, 2017 at 8:51 p.m. Updated Sept. 30, 2017 at 1:25 p.m.”
“On June 14, 2012, a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) 3008(a) Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Formosa Plastics Corporation, Texas (Formosa) was filed with the Regional Hearing Clerk for the EPA Region 6. This new Order complemented the existing 3008(h) AOC to obtain site-wide corrective measures for remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater and closed negotiations regarding a site-wide RCRA 3008(h) Unilateral Administrative Order (UAO).
The new 3008(a) AOC requires Formosa to implement Region 6 Corrective Action Strategy (CAS) procedures for investigation and remediation for the northern portion of the facility and to apply for a post-closure permit with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality by December 31, 2012. For several months, Formosa had not complied with requirements of the existing 3008(h) and so an agreement was reached between Formosa and the EPA to amend and revise previously established deliverable dates for workplans that are crucial for the control and cleanup of contaminated soil and groundwater….
Formosa has reported multiple volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including chlorinated hydrocarbons (EDC) and daughter products, chloroform, and benzene in the soil and groundwater above health-based risk levels in site investigations conducted from 1988 to the present. Most of the VOCs are carcinogenic or probable carcinogenic substances. Shallow contaminated groundwater is contained to some degree by groundwater mounding effects from a facility to the south. Since the most chlorinated hydrocarbons are dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs), they are continuing to sink to lower layers of the Beaumont Clay formation. DNAPL has not been reported in monitoring wells because it is believed that the DNAPL is mostly adsorbed to the clay layers in the formation. There have been several reports over the operating period at the plant that described releases of chlorinated hydrocarbons to the nearby Cox Creek.” https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/case-summary-settlement-formosa-plastics-corporation-site-wide-corrective-actions-point
“Tuesday, September 29, 2009…..
The case was initiated as a result of inspections conducted by EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center at Formosa’s Point Comfort and Baton Rouge facilities. During the inspections, EPA identified extensive Clean Air Act leak detection and repair violations, including failing to properly monitor leaking components, failing to include chemical manufacturing equipment in its leak detection and repair program, and failing to timely repair leaking equipment. Inspectors also identified a variety of hazardous waste violations at both facilities.
In addition, the inspectors found that Formosa had violated wastewater discharge limits under its CWA permits, and, at the Texas facility, had failed to comply with the CAA benzene waste operations requirements and to submit correct toxic release reporting information to EPA.
The companies also have agreed to pay a civil penalty of $2.8 million to resolve violations under the Clean Air Act (CAA), Clean Water Act (CWA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).
Under the agreement lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, both the Texas and Louisiana facilities will implement a comprehensive CAA enhanced leak detection and repair program, which goes beyond regulatory requirements by requiring more stringent leak definitions, more frequent monitoring and monitoring and repair of additional chemical manufacturing equipment. The leak prevention practices agreed to in the settlement include an innovative program to replace valves with new “low leak” valve technology, which will significantly reduce the likelihood of future leaks of air pollutants. The enhanced program also includes requirements for periodic audits of the companies’ leak prevention practices to ensure compliance going forward.
The enhanced leak detection and repair program will potentially reduce the annual volatile organic compound (VOC) air emissions from the two Formosa facilities by approximately 6,570,000 pounds per year of VOCs, including hazardous air pollutants such as vinyl chloride.” https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/formosa-plastics-corp-texas-and-formosa-plastics-corp-louisiana-will-spend-more-10-million
Noticeaable ollution appears to be routine, based on links found at the San Antonio Bay Waterkeeper Facebook page: