Int'l - How the Datan Algal Reef Became a Wedge Issue
AS THE MARCH 2021 deadline for proposing topics for the August referendum approached, turmoil and contention arose amongst Taiwan’s progressive groups. The issue at han
AS THE MARCH 2021 deadline for proposing topics for the August referendum approached, turmoil and contention arose amongst Taiwan’s progressive groups. The issue at hand: a liquified natural gas (LNG) receiving station that the government plans to construct on Taoyuan’s Datan algal reef. Cherish the Taoyuan Algal Reef Union (珍愛桃園藻礁聯盟; CTARU), a grass-roots environmental group that has advocated for the conservation of the algal reef since 2014, launched a campaign with Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association (台灣蠻野心足生態協會; WHLDA) and the Society of Wilderness (荒野保護協會; SoW) against the Datan LNG receiving station in December of 2020. The algal reef spans 27 kilometers of coastline.
About two months into their campaign, CTARU had not reached the 100,000 signature threshold for their petition against the Datan station to be added onto the August referendum questions. On February 23rd the KMT endorsed the petition, which led to a sharp increase in petition signatures and also provoked a wave of disapproval towards the petition amongst the pan-Green camp, with some DPP supporters demanding that the petition be withdrawn.