Monday, March 05, 2007

Letting the developers into the parks

The Korea Times discusses a bill currently being evaluated that would open National Parks for development.

A bill that would allow seven national parks to be developed without concern for the environment is under consideration in the National Assembly, triggering a dispute among government offices, civic groups and lawmakers.

According to the Ministry of Environment, the Assemblys Construction and Transportation Committee is likely to endorse the bill, which applies mainly to the development of the south and east coast, on Monday.

The bill would make studies on the environmental effects of construction in these areas non-binding.

The seven areas to be affected are Mt. Chiri, Hallyo, Wolchul, Kaya, Tokyu and
Naejang national parks.


``Seventy percent of wildlife lives in the national parks, which account for 6.6 percent
of the nation
s territory. It is an international trend to preserve the environment rather than
develop it, and the bill will surely destroy that,
’’ Yoon Guk-gu, the National Park Service public relations director, said.

More than 151 civic groups in South Kyongsang Province gathered Friday to declare that
the bill would bring a development craze to rural areas, which would not benefit local residents. It is not a step toward sustainable development, they said.

I discussed development of Kyeongpo Provincial Park, comparing it to Haeundae, almost exactly a year ago and I agree with the civic groups. The money will at least leave the rural areas and may well leave Korea entirely.

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