- This topic has 26 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 11 years, 8 months ago by Anonymous.
18 December 2005 at 3:27 pm #6944Anonymous
This thread discusses the Content article: https://www.hkoutdoors.com/outlying-islands/soko-islands.html
Thanks for a good story. We need a real plan for development of an ecoturism resort featuring nature walks/trails, clean beaches, diving/snorkelling and marine resource protection. In the West Indies we have found that this sort of development actually benefits wildlife. For example, those WB Sea Eagles have nested on Tai A Chau in the past, but without people-protection their nest often gets raided. In the British Virgin Islands we find ecotourists de facto protect nesting sea birds, raptors, iguanas, tortoises, flamingos, etc. that were threatened and even locally extirpated previously. See http://www.guana.com & http://www.guanascience.com We need to find an entrepreneur developer…. Onwards!20 December 2005 at 2:02 am #7838Anonymous
What would be useful is for someone to post exactly what CLP intends to do to the Sokos Islands. Can anybody fill in the gap for the general public as to extent of reclamation, construction, operation phase etc?
This way a direct comparison between untouched (75%) and CLPs direct & cumulative impact can be assessed, but we should also note this with our other think tank, the Lantau Devekopment Task Force….17 March 2006 at 10:15 am #7839Anonymous
This is the content of an open letter sent to Fragrant Harbour Magazine today:
Your readers may not be aware that the HK Government and China Light & Power (CLP) are determined to push ahead with a LNG storage facility within HK waters, with one of the primary sites under review being the beautiful Soko Islands to the south of Lantau which, until very recently, had been earmarked for protection as a marine park.
The Living Islands Movement (www.livingislands.org.hk) is fully engaged in attempting to show the folly of such a plan, given the ecological impact it would have on the islands. In particular, they are trying to raise awareness of this threat through the local yacht clubs which count South Lantau and the Soko Islands as their home cruising grounds. The DBYC, ABC and LBC are therefore getting together for a combined Sokos Rally on 29/30 April. Each club will be organising their own cruise or race to the Sokos, to anchor there overnight and enjoy a beach party and BBQ under the stars.
We would like to invite all boat-owners (not just yachties) along to join the fun and demonstrate against this potential ecological abuse in our home waters. Please contact [email protected] for details.
http://www.dbyc.net17 March 2006 at 1:21 pm #7840Anonymous
Good letter and thanks for continually pushing these environmental issues for HK. One useful addition to the letter (if it’s not too late) would be to perhaps indicate some of the likely damage that would result from this facility and perhaps to suggest alternative solutions.
http://www.dyingtorun.com3 May 2006 at 10:48 pm #7841
The Soko rally was a great success, with some 30 yachts, junks and motorboats taking part. Over 100 people enjoyed a beautiful weekend in this special place. The message from the gathering was clear, nobody wants to see this unique resource destroyed by building an LNG storage facility.
We are committed to cleaning up the atmosphere in Hong Kong and certainly not against LNG as an alternative energy source. However, we donâ€™t want CLP trading one form of environmental crime (air pollution) for another (destruction of endangered habitat) simply for political reasons. There are alternative and better sites available (Black Point, spare capacity in Schenzen, offshore terminals, etc.).
[from Richard Winter, a key organiser of Save the Sokos campaign]22 September 2006 at 6:34 am #7842
Here’s a position paper from the Green Lantau Association and the Living Islands Movement, with arguments against building a Liquefied Natural Gas terminal at the Soko Islands – or, indeed, within Hong Kong.
If you wish to comment on this, you could post below – I can forward to govt etc.
Options for the Supply of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
to Hong Kong
A position paper by the Green Lantau Association and the Living Islands Movement
1. This paper looks at the China Light and Power (CLP) proposal to build a LNG terminal in HK waters and explains why this is inappropriate and what the options should be. In essence our view is that,
(i) There are strong strategic reasons why LNG supplies should be secured from terminals built in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) rather than from a HK terminal. Also, the time has come to realize that we now have no suitable land left for this kind of development.
(ii) There are viable options to source LNG from PRD sources which will obviate the need for a HK terminal, and thereby preserve our remaining coastal and marine environment. These options are already being used by Hong Kong Electric (HKE), and
(iii) The justification by CLP, for building a stand-alone LNG terminal within HK waters appears to be principally motivated by the income on capital investment derived under the Scheme of Control (SoC). This course would result in higher electricity charges than from PRD alternatives, and this is not in the interest of the HK public.
2. Air quality considerations make it imperative that HKâ€™s power stations are operated with the cleanest fuel available. LNG offers significant improvements over the burning of coal. Both power companies, Hong Kong Electric (HKE) and China Light and Power (CLP) are committed to using LNG to partially power their turbines.
3. HKE will source LNG from a terminal at Dapeng, Shenzhen in which HKE have acquired a 3% shareholding. This will power a new turbine at Lamma, and, after conversion, other existing turbines.
4. CLP will use LNG to power their entire Black Point Power Station. This station has an installed capacity of some 2500MW representing some 36% of CLPâ€™s installed capacity. The turbines are configured to run on gas, which is presently supplied by a 650 km submarine pipeline from Chinaâ€™s Yacheng field off Hainan. Despite a long term supply contract which runs to 2016, CLP have belatedly advised that the contracted supply conditions will not be met, with supplies lasting until â€œthe beginning of next decadeâ€ only. The position has been exacerbated by CLP continuing to sell power to the PRD, when such surplus capacity could be retained to provide a longer gas supply to Hong Kong.
5. CLP apparently became aware of the diminishing gas supply in 2002. Since then, CLP has been adamant that only a HK-located terminal can supply their needs, and has restricted its site search accordingly. Two sites have been identified for the terminal, one at Black Point alongside the power station to be served, the other on the Soko Islands off South Lantau. CLP have now declared their open preference for the Sokos site.
6. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is now approaching completion in respect of each of the two sites. CLP expects an early decision to be reached, and for the Hong Kong Government (HKG) to grant the favoured site to them by late this year. Construction is expected to last 4 years with the terminal being completed in 2010.
7. CLP have not undertaken a comprehensive assessment of sourcing LNG from external sources, in clear anticipation of being awarded a HK site upon which to build itâ€™s own terminal.
Requirement of a LNG Terminal
8. LNG is delivered by purpose built tankers of 60 000 tons deadweight and upwards. They require a tidal assisted depth of 15 metres at mean High Water. The terminal site therefore requires coastal land adjacent to deep easily accessible water. A substantial area of naturally flat or reclaimed land is needed for the on-site tanks and associated facilities. The adverse impact of this on Hong Kongâ€™s remaining environment will be considerable and incapable of mitigation.
Scheme of Control
9. Both HK power companies, HKE and CLP operate under a Scheme of Control (SoC), which prescribes the rate of return which they can derive on their assets. This return provides the basis of power charges to consumers. Currently CLP can earn 13.5% return on any assets, and up to 15% return on those purchased with shareholders funds.
10. No return however is earned on assets situated outside HK. For example CLP earns no return on their investment in the Daya Bay nuclear facility. Power or fuel purchased from outside HK is credited at cost only. Accordingly there is a significant financial incentive to hold where possible, substantial assets within HK.
11. The SoC arrangement has served HK well in the days HK was a colony, and stood alone and apart from China. Power stations inside HK provided reliable power in a region where alternatives were simply not available, and the political relationship fluctuated. This is no longer the case. HK is now part of China, and is partnering the Mainland in ever increasing areas. There is no longer the need, nor indeed is it appropriate, to insist or expect, that HK continue to operate in isolation from the rest of China, and build standalone facilities within the SAR. Indeed CLPâ€™s existing partnering arrangements in respect of Daya Bay nuclear station and Yacheng gas have operated successfully for many years.
12. We believe it is time that the opportunities presented by our close relationship with the Mainland are fully exploited to the benefit of all residents of HK. The high electricity prices paid by HK consumers brought about by the past stand-alone SoC approach to the supply of power, should not continue. In this respect we should note that construction costs for large infrastructure projects are significantly cheaper in the PRD. Accordingly sourcing LNG from a PRD terminal would be markedly in the interest of HK consumers, as lower electricity tariffs are virtually assured.
Air Quality Objectives
13. HKG and the Guangdong authorities have a stated intention to bring regional air quality back to 1997 levels by 2010. Separately, the HKG is proposing air quality requirements in the new SoC to be applicable to CLP from 2010. CLP has stated that the new LNG terminal is necessary in order to meet SoC requirements, although emission trading and/or reduction in coal-fired generation may achieve the same results.
14. We say that the 2010 date should not be a rigid requirement, if it is wrongly used to validate a hasty decision on the terminal location.
15. Why not a HK LNG Terminal
(a) HK has a small land area (some 400 square miles), which is already under extreme pressure to accommodate the requirements of HKâ€™s wish to be a logistics hub for the PRD. HK does not have an infinite capacity to accommodate unlimited industrial infrastructure, and, as with Singapore, another island entity, must perforce â€˜outsourceâ€™ certain undertakings to friendly neighbouring jurisdictions. For example, HK has effectively outsourced its entire manufacturing base to southern China. Whilst arguably environmental trade-offs can be made for truly essential infrastructure projects, the supply of LNG does not fall into that category, given that there are viable alternatives.
(b) The two HK terminal site options are both on green-field sites, requiring the sacrificing of more remaining coastline and adjacent waters. Black Point might appear suitable as being adjacent to the power station, but current indications are that perceived safety considerations arising from the use of the Rambler shipping channel and the 3 kilometre-away village of Leung Kwu Tan, and a planning wish to reserve BP for future unspecified cross-delta links, will invalidate this option. Further, there is evidence that the waters off BP form an important dolphin breeding ground.
(c) The other location, the Soko Islands, is situated immediately off highly scenic South Lantau. This island group was slated to be a marine reserve as recently as 2001 in governmentâ€™s own South West New Territories Development Strategy Review (SWNTDSR). In 2002 a government proposal to gazette the Sokos as a Marine Park reached an advanced stage. They form a most attractive recreation area, and are both rich in marine life and an important breeding ground. One island hosts a recently constructed low-level radioactive storage facility, which would be an unacceptable risk in the event of an LNG accident.
(d) The PRD has a chronic shortage of clean power. The problem has however been identified, and energetic steps are underway to replace highly polluting oil and coal fired plants with larger LNG fired facilities. The Shenzhen LNG terminal is a forerunner, Phase I has a capacity of 3M tonnes p.a., whilst Phase II yet to be committed, has a capacity of 2M tonnes p.a.
Power requirements in the PRD vastly exceed HKâ€™s needs and are expected to grow exponentially. It makes no sense therefore for HK to construct a stand-a-lone terminal of limited capacity when partnering with the PRD could produce a Delta-serving terminal of substantially larger capacity and cost-effectiveness.
A rebuttal of CLPâ€™s position
16. CLP has advanced a number of reasons why LNG for their Black Point Station can best be supplied from a CLP-owned terminal to be constructed in HK.
(a) CLP says â€“ a HK terminal would ensure security of supply
We say â€“ this is simply not true. The proposed terminal is a storage facility only. LNG is supplied from producer countries on long term supply contracts. The location of the storage terminal is immaterial. Further, the Mainland has proved a most reliable partner over many years, first with the nuclear supply from Daya Bay and latterly with the gas supply from Yacheng. For CLP to imply that that PRD-located terminal would not be secure, or a PRD supplier to be unreliable, is totally unfounded.
(b). CLP says â€“ a HK terminal will bring environmental benefits because it can supply clean fuel.
We say â€“ it is the fuel and not the location of the terminal that matters. HKEâ€™s LNG from Shenzhen will be just as clean.
(c) CLP says â€“ a HK terminal enables the project to be delivered under a single jurisdiction with clear policy and regulations
We say â€“ this is indeed true, but this is an insufficient reason in itself. HKE has evidently overcome successfully any problems in securing supplies from Shenzhen.
(d) CLP says â€“ a HK terminal will bring economic benefits in the form of infrastructure investment, and additionally provide engineering and construction jobs.
We say â€“ the infrastructure benefits only CLP. Job creation is mainly for the 4 years of construction, with less than 30 permanent jobs created. Almost certainly, wider â€“ranging economic benefits for the whole community in the form of cheaper power would accrue if the terminal was sited in the PRD rather than inside HK waters.
17. Options for the supply of LNG to HK
(a) Shenzhen Dapeng Terminal
Whilst Phase I (with a capacity of 3M tonnes p.a.) is about to commission and has been fully committed, Phase II of this terminal has yet to be built or committed. With a capacity of some 2M tonnes p.a. this would substantially cater for CLPâ€™s requirements of 2.6M tonnes p.a. Situated to the east of HK, either a dedicated submarine pipeline would be required, or a Shenzhen land connection built. Given the future needs of the western PRD, the probability of a convenient land connection is high.
(b) . Sinopec Zhuhai Terminal
The China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) has announced its intention to construct a LNG terminal off Zhuhai, on Huangmao Island in the Pearl River. Sinopec has advised that the terminal will complete by 2009 and could be expanded to meet CLPâ€™s requirements by 2011.
This proposal has been specifically targeted at CLP requirements in terms of location, capacity and timing. It offers potentially significant benefits in cost-effectiveness, cheaper fuel, environmental protection, and additionally fosters synergy across the PRD.
As announced in the SCMP (dated 26 July 2006), the Sinopec project will be built with sufficient infrastructure to service both HK and Macau. Sinopec has stated that the development cost will be less than $10 billion, of which presumably some 50% or $5 billion will be allocated to the portion servicing HK. It has been stated in the Press that the development cost of a HK-based facility will be in the order of $9 billion, or almost double the cost of the Sinopec facility. Such a dislocation of resources is simply not justified from any perspective.
This option is in our view, the preferred option.
(c) The emergence of direct LNG supplies
Supporting both options for outsourcing HK energy supplies is the very recently announced find by Husky Oil of vast quantities of LNG in Chinese waters some 250km from HK. Potentially this gas source, like the present Yacheng gas supply, could also become a viable long-term direct LNG energy supply for HK. It also further raises the possibility to directly pipe gas to HK, a significant opportunity which when evaluated may bring obvious benefits.
Current Position on CLPâ€™s LNG initiative
18. It appears that due to singular commercial interests (by CLP), and regulatory inertia (by HKG), a position is emerging which, if not addressed quickly will inevitably lead to the sacrifice of HKâ€™s interests . As the supply of Yacheng gas diminishes (on which CLP has yet to provide substantive figures, but which it is using to exert undue pressure on the HKG), the prospect increases of Black Pointâ€™s 2500 MW going off-line due to want of gas supply. Clearly the loss of 2500MW of relatively clean power cannot be allowed to happen.
19. Given justifiable public concern on air quality, and in the absence of any self-investigation of alternatives, it seems possible that HKG will concede CLPâ€™s position and allow construction of a LNG terminal in HK waters and on the Soko Islands.
20. This we believe would be a decision of immense folly, turning one of the few remaining natural seascapes of great beauty into an industrial undertaking of extreme ugliness. There would be environmental damage which cannot be mitigated, the loss of remaining recreational areas, and a permanent blight on an area of outstanding natural beauty.
21. Our intentions and views
(a) We have no wish to frustrate the supply of LNG to HK. Indeed we believe it is vital to our air quality that LNG be brought to HK as soon as practicable. That said, a hasty decision which would see the permanent sacrifice of some of our best remaining natural areas (the Soko Islands) would be unacceptable. Were the Sinopec option to be found preferable but unable to meet the 2010 target by one to two years, we would think the delay would on balance be acceptable.
(b) We feel whilst CLP has understandable commercial incentives in building a HK terminal and enjoying SoC returns thereon, the outcome is most unlikely to be favourable to the HK consumer. Furthermore, CLP has openly expressed favour building on the more remote Soko Islands, thereby recouping an even greater return on their capital expended. Indeed the whole SoC equation is predicated toward profligacy in expenditure at the expense of the HK consumer. In order that the matter be clearly debated in financial terms, we strongly recommend that a zero-capital-cost scenario (which would result from sourcing LNG from a terminal outside HK waters) be developed against which to assess the true cost-to-consumers of CLPâ€™s proposal.
(c) Additionally we would point out that CLPâ€™s assessment of the economics of development at the Sokos will not take into account the totality of the entire development process. The Sokos are a unique marine environment supporting a large number of marine mammals, fishing and recreation. The developmentâ€™s financial assessment will not price in the permanent loss of wildlife, marine habitants, or the scenic and recreational benefits of this site.
(d) We feel the HKG has a clear leadership responsibility in a matter as important as this, and should act more proactively than it has thus far. It is not sufficient to act as a passive regulator which responds only to proposals made to it. In this case it has taken no lead whatever during the four years spent by CLP in bringing forward its HK-only options for the terminal. Ideally we would wish to see CLP being directed now to investigate PRD options, or secondary suppliers of gas from centralized supplies such as Sinopec, which proposal seems eminently viable, with the clear message that a HK-based terminal is most unlikely to find approval.
(e) We believe it is vital for the HKG to take a proactive role in matters such as the need for and timely construction of, massive infrastructure projects, and not to simply rely on private sector initiatives to provide the only options. The current debate on the LNG terminal is one-sided, with the play being made solely by CLP for their commercial benefit. We suggest the HKG initiate a cost/benefit study of the possibilities of encouraging external sourcing of LNG to HK. Clearly HKE have already taken the view that the most viable supply source is Shenzhen, and have even entirely implemented the process from planning through to installation. This approach by HKE indicates that CLPâ€™s commercial interests are preventing an even-handed balance to what is effectively a simple supply and demand matter. As with the supply of power itself, HKG should be looking at opening up the fuel supply side of the power equation to ensure that HK is not trapped into a one-horse race.
Green Lantau Association Living Islands Movement
Post edited by: Martin, at: 2006/09/21 23:4022 September 2006 at 6:35 am #7843
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ç¶ è‰²å¤§å¶¼å±±å”æœƒ Living Islands Movement
Post edited by: Martin, at: 2006/09/23 15:4223 September 2006 at 12:20 am #7844
WWF expresses serious concerns on CLP’s LNG Terminal EIA procedure
and the future of the Chinese White Dolphin (21 September 2006)
WWF considers that CLP is attempting to sabotage public debate and the decision-making process on its proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) Terminal because the company has stated a firm preference for the Soko’s site before the government has completed its examination of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), and after only releasing highly selectively information to the public.
CLP revealed its preference on site location to the public three weeks ago without fully considering other viable site options for its LNG Terminal. CLP has refused to release the draft EIA preventing anyone from properly considering the impacts of the two sites in the EIA or what other options were considered.
“This is a deliberate attempt by CLP to prejudice the decision-making process by stating its preference while controlling the information which has violated fundamental principles of the EIA public consultation process ,” stated Mr Eric Bohm, CEO, WWF Hong Kong.
In the Study Brief issued by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), outlining the requirements of the EIA, CLP was required to compare the environmental merits and demerits of the Soko and Black Point option with other options.
“CLP should provide clear and objective comparisons on the Pros and Cons for all other possible LNG sources, including other alternative LNG supplies. Despite the efforts by EPD in recent years to encourage the project proponents to allow continuous public participation in the EIA process from initial planning through to final design, CLP has decided to release selective and piecemeal information,” said Dr Alan Leung, Senior Conservation Officer, WWF Hong Kong. “By doing so they are deliberately biasing the public debate on this important infrastructure project in an environmentally sensitive area which could have ramifications for decades to come.” WWF has written to CLP several times to request that the whole draft EIA be released, as has been done for some recent government projects recently, but the response so far has been negative.
CLP’s stated preference as of the 1 st September is to build a terminal on the South Soko Island, with its surrounding waters endorsed as a Marine Park in 2002. The areas have been identified as important fishery spawning and nursery grounds. The Sokos waters are also unique being the only location where the Chinese white dolphin and the Finless porpoise co-occur in local waters. The proposed gas pipeline associated with the Soko option will also cut through the prime habitat of the Chinese white dolphin near the Sha Chau and Lung Kwu Chau Marine Park and another Marine Park proposed for Southwest Lantau. Unbelievably, the information released to the public by CLP to date comparing the Black Point and Soko sites makes no mention of the marine mammals found at the Sokos.
“WWF is extremely concerned by the Government’s casual dis regard to the continuous and cumulative encroachment from large scale developments within the marine areas inhabited by the only two residential marine mammals in Hong Kong. Over the past 10 years, more than 10 projects with over 1,700 ha of the sea area have been reclaimed. Reclamation has not just caused a direct loss of these mammals’ habitats, it also removes habitat for the fish on which the dolphins feed,” continued Dr Leung.
Endless past, present and future works on dredging, dumping, facilities installation, and pollution not only pose threats to the dolphins and the porpoises, but the whole marine environment, and have contributed to our declining fishing industry. Although the dolphin and the porpoise population is holding up at the moment, we worry that these magnificent animals will not be able to withstand unlimited and on-going developments, such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge and the Container Terminal 10 near Tai O.
“WWF is calling on the Hong Kong public to support the only two warm-blooded resident marine animals by demanding the Government cease this casual disregard for the areas in which they live. While WWF does support the move towards greener fuels like natural gas for power generation, we cannot accept the trade off to the Soko Islands and the dolphins and porpoise while other options are available” stated Mr Bohm.
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See also WWF Hong Kong webpages: No Go at Soko
Post edited by: Martin, at: 2006/11/01 08:362 October 2006 at 6:56 pm #7845
Taken me some time, but after an email request from Living Island Movement, I’ve at last sent emails to various HK govt departments regarding the Soko Islands.
Sent the following to (and here, I’ve amended email addresses so hopefully spammers’ robots won’t read):
Environmental Protection Department â€“ Dr. Mike Chui , Director of EPD (Actg) â€“ enquiry AT epd.gov.hk
Economic Development and Labour Bureau â€“ Stephen IP GBS JP, Secretary forâ€¦ edb At edlb.gov.hk
Environment Transport and Works Bureau â€“ Dr. Sarah Liao JP, Secretary for â€¦. etwbenq AT etwb.gov.hk
Advisory Council on the Environment â€“ Professor LAM Kin-che, Chairman of â€¦ etwbenq AT etwb.gov.hk
LegCo Environmental Affairs Panel â€“ Hon. CHOY So-yuk, Chairman ofâ€¦ sychoy AT pacific.net.hk
LegCo Planning Lands and Works Panel â€“ Hon. Patrick Lau Sau-shing SBS JP, Deputy Chairman ofâ€¦ patricklau AT gmail.com
– maybe you can send similar.
I am writing to express my concern re the possible LNG terminal on the Soko Islands.
As I am sure you are aware, this may benefit CLP for a few years, but would otherwise be a retrograde step for Hong Kong. (Has anyone calculated how much it would cost to restore the Sokos once the terminal is finished with? Such costs should be borne by CLP, and should be factored into any benefit analyses.)
As the attached photo indicates, the Soko Islands are highly attractive. I took it a few years ago – and the low buildings of the Tai A Chau detention centre are visible, indicating that an LNG terminal would significantly blight the landscape.
Instead, I believe the Sokos should be retained as one of our few (two?) remaining clusters of relatively wild islets that are well worth visiting for hiking, enjoying beaches and scenery etc. Further, I believe the marine park should be established.
Over time, such measures would make the Sokos valuable to Hong Kong, in part as a destination for local people, and – potentially – for overseas visitors.
Dr Martin Williams
Hong Kong Outdoors
Post edited by: Martin, at: 2006/10/02 12:008 November 2006 at 6:25 pm #7846
An email I sent in response to request for info re possible question to Legco:
One thing that I haven’t heard: does the budget for the LNG terminal include the costs of dismantling it, and restoring the area to its original condition or better (both on land, and underwater)?
Surely, this should be guaranteed before any work begins.
I ask partly as have heard of (nuclear) plants, open coal mines etc, where costs for dismantling etc are so huge, they would make them economically unviable.
But, tends to be that the things are built/done, then society at large is left to pick up the bill for repairing the environment.
Perhaps of some interest: an article on the costs, including hidden costs, of coal mining in the US:
The Costs of Coal in Pennsylvania
Effects of Longwall Mining
The Department of Environmental Protection acts more like a Department of Energy Production when it ignores existing laws and regulations and provides the mining industry a de facto exemption from the same environmental protection requirements that other industries must comply with. The costs to extract coal are passed along to the coalfield residents, to the environment, and to the taxpayers, thereby inflating the private profits of mine operators and distorting coalâ€™s market advantage over competing energy resources.17 January 2007 at 1:12 am #7847
From email recently in:
in case you haven’t expressed your views on the Soko Islands issue through the official consultation channel provided by the Environmental Protection Department, please visit the following site and click on the [Send Comment] link under EIA REPORTS: Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Receiving Terminal and Associated Facillities:
It is very important to that you should do this before 25 Jan, because utilising the Government’s own consultation channel means having your comments ‘on the record’ in the most direct way. Thank you for your kind attention.22 January 2007 at 6:11 pm #7848
This just in – was posted to the EPD site via link given above:
I represent The Conservation Agency in strongly opposing the building of a LNG terminal, or any other industrial facility, in the Soko Islands because that would be a tragic waste of a potentially wonderful and lucrative natural resource. The proper development for the Sokos should be as an ecotourist destination resort.
The Sokos are rich in natural history, including both terrestrial and marine life, birds, animals, and flora. The existing old town/prison platform on Tai A Chau would be ideal for hotel development and resort headquarters. The beach front on the south side of Siu A Chau could be redeveloped for recreation. The waters south of Tai A Chau, extending to and including Tau Lo Chau, should become a marine park and sanctuary for snorkeling and diving. Nature trails, with interpretive signage, should extend out on both Tai A Chau and Siu A Chau from the developed sites for birding, animal observation, and plant identification. This sort of development for ecotourism and recreation in nature is very popular and very profitable in the Mediterranean and Caribbean. It is time to do this in the South China Sea.
Not only is ecotoursm lucrative and popular, but it can be wonderful – if properly managed – for wildlife and the natural environment. I have personally been in charge of developing natural history programs, including rare species restorations, nature trails, interpretive signage, and tour guiding, on a number of Caribbean islands, notably Guana and Necker (see http://www.guanascience.com, http://www.guana.com, and http://www.necker.com). A properly developed and managed ecotourist destination resort is much better for wildlife and nature than an “empty” island: That is because the people there have reason to care for the island’s natural resources.
The Conservation Agency (www.theconservationagency.org) and I personally stand ready to advise and assist in the proper development of the Soko Islands.
Sincerely, James Lazell, Ph.D., 2007.1.21.22 January 2007 at 7:59 pm #7849
I’ve just sent this to EPD:
Hong Kong boast some of the finest scenery along the coast of China. This is important for residents, and for helping attract tourists; plus Hong Kong supports rich biodiversity, including globally rare species.
Yet, especially along the coasts, we have relatively few “unspoiled” areas. The Soko Islands are among the best of these.
The planned project will have a major negative impact on the Sokos: damaging the land and marine environments and wildlife, including Chinese white dolphin, as well as scarring the scenery, even marring views from places high on Lantau, such as the Big Buddha at Ngong Ping.
Why the unseemly rush to concrete part of the Sokos?
While using LNG as power station fuel could indeed help reduce air pollution, doing so – and sourcing LNG via the Sokos – is not the only option.
For instance, it would seem entirely possible to source LNG from Sinopec, China’s largest oil refiner, which is gearing up to supply nearby places.
I have heard the rush is supposedly to help improve air quality. Yet, the Chief Executive has claimed air pollution here is not a serious problem.
Further, why the rush here when the Hong Kong Government has lately been limp-wristed in seeking further controls on emissions by local power stations.?
To what extent has the government explored possibilities for greatly improving coal burning by local power stations?.
Ttechnologies exist to make coal burning far cleaner; indeed, with coal gasification, power plant emissions are similar to those from plants burning natural gas (though include carbon dioxide, which will also be produced burning LNG – making even this environmentally unfriendly given contributions to global warming).
Given the rush here (supposedly to boost air quality), why is the government not pressing for reduced energy consumption in Hong Kong?
Why this apparent reliance on a quick-fix involving yet more concrete?
Why was the proposal for a marine park at the Sokos readily dropped, and lately ignored, by the government?
Hong Kong is currently aiming to broaden tourism, to include nature tourism.
The Sokos would make a fine site for ecotourism, attracting both residents and overseas visitors.
What ecotourism plans for the Sokos have been considered by the government?
What are the projected costs for dismantling the LNG terminal once it is no longer needed (within a relatively short period) – and for restoring the Sokos?
What guarantees are there that such restoration work will actually be carried out, and we won’t simply be left with a ruined area of once lovely islands?
Dr Martin Williams
Hong Kong Outdoors22 January 2007 at 8:00 pm #7850
Stephen IP GBS JP, Secretary for Economic Development and Labour Bureau,
RE: Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Receiving Terminal and Associated Facilities
As part of the Public Consultation towards the aforementioned project, I would be grateful if the Government would for the record consider my views and objections on this matter, especially towards the Sokos Islands.
Firstly I would like to enquire about the potential impacts to marine ecology resulting from the open loop system (a system that draws in seawater and discharges a cocktail of antifoulant and chlorine back into the environment). Sterilizing millions of gallons of water in this way must have an impact on marine life especially towards shrimp, food prey items for the Chinese White Dolphin, fish larvae and possibly Branchiostoma belcheri, a species recognised of high conservation interest in the region. The EIA states that impacts to marine ecology as a result of potential concentrations of residual chlorine are not expected to occur.
Has CLP addressed the closed loop system which will have negligible impacts to marine life?
Secondly, as part of a feasibility study for the Chinese White Dolphin, AFCD commissioned a report in 1997, with recommendations to consider a way forward to designate SW Lantau (including Fan Lau and the Sokos) as a Marine Park, during the interim (now 10 years) the site was also to be considered as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Where does AFCD and the rest of the Government stand on this point? And looking towards the future what kind of protection is afforded by the already established marine parks? Are we to allow large scale projects to infringe on these areas under the pretext of clearing up our polluted skies at the expense of the marine environment?
Thirdly, information from the Port Surveys of 1989-91 and 1996-97 commissioned by AFCD provide the best source of existing information about fisheries resources. The Sokos Islands were identified as being part of a nursery area for commercial fisheries resources that encompasses a large stretch of Hong Kong southern waters extending between South Lantau and southern portion of Lamma Island waters. This area has been identified as a nursery particularly for Oratosquilla species as well as Sciaenid and Squilla fry. As is Hong Kong fisheries are severely under threat from ‘such’ projects that destroy prime nursery areas. This type of impact is another good example of this country’s coastal destruction which also includes ‘atypical’ neglect towards the marine environment, aka Disnelyland, the Airport, Tseung Kwan O, ad nauseam.
Fourthly, as part of Planning Departments ‘Landscape Value Mapping of Hong Kong Report’ it appears that other development projects in southern Lantau have been mooted and discussed including retail and tourism-related uses. How will these co-exist with an LNG terminal? It also quotes that ‘further offshore, the coastal waters are open and exposed, punctuated only by occasional vessels or by small island landscapes which, when in groups – such as the Sokos or Po Toi Islands – form striking remote sea landscapes’. To encourage tourism in the area I suggest we keep it that way.
I hope the Government is committed on Black Point as the site for the LNG terminal and that the final design changes incorporate significant measures thus reducing those ecological impacts classed as minor to a negligible level.
Charles Frew, MSc
Post edited by: Martin, at: 2007/01/23 21:0823 January 2007 at 5:05 am #7851
I am also quite surprised nobody has picked up on the somewhat desperate measures by EXXON-CLP using Photoshop or fake images to ram home the point of the ‘marine park designation’ olive branch.
If anybody saw the advertorial in the SCMP on Friday or Saturday, the image depicted 2 Chinese White Dolphins above a coral seabed with a school of Bluestripe Snapper (we should note that only one single specimen of this fish has ever been caught by fishers from Lamma Island – Reef Fishes of Hong Kong).
I have always been under the impression that the most dangerous motive for generating fake images is to alter the public’s perception of truth for political reasons…
Post edited by: Martin, at: 2007/01/23 21:09
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