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Outsiders must leave Miryang

Posted October. 04, 2013 08:38,   


Only 20 out of some 60 people who block the construction of high voltage transmission towers, which was resumed on Wednesday, are from Miryang. The rest of the people are members of the Korea Federation of Trade Unions, left-wing Unified Progressive Party and Justice Party, the Korea Federation for Environment Movement, and catholic nuns. They tied their bodies with iron chains and struggled with local residents to stop construction.

They are propagating that the construction will drive Miryang into the land of death, further aggravating the conflict. If it is the case, then are the neighborhoods near some 900 high voltage power transmission towers across the country the land of death? Eom Yong-soo, Miryang mayor, said, “Hopefully, the outsiders who want a seed of another conflict would not intervene in this case.” A decade ago, outsiders amplified conflicts over the construction of radioactive waste disposal plant in Buan, North Jeolla Province. Hopefully, the outsiders who do not help addressing the issue would leave the site.

The construction was resumed in four months from May when the lawmakers of the Trade, Industry and Energy Committee of the National Assembly suspended the construction to mediate the conflict between the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) and local residents. The construction of high voltage towers between Shin Kori and Bukgyeongnam started in 2008 and four other cities and counties excluding Miryang – Yangsan, Ulsan, Gijang, and Changnyeong -- completed construction. Only 52 towers in Miryang out of 161 towers have not been set up yet. Shin Kori 3, a nuclear plant with a capacity of 1.4 million kilowatts, costing 3.25 trillion won (3.02 billion U.S. dollars), will start operation in March next year. A lot of delay has been made. Even if the construction starts now, the towers can be built by May next year.

The KEPCO CEO and the Energy Minister visited the site several times. Last month, Prime Minister Jung Hong-won proposed a compensation plan of tens of billions of won (tens of millions of dollars). He suggested a “direct compensation plan” of four million won (3,720 dollars) per household and 18 out of 30 villages agreed. Nevertheless, some residents demand unrealistic detour power transmission or burying electric lines under the ground.

Power transmission lines that connect power plants to factories and households are a country’s necessary infrastructure. Miryang residents also get electricity from other regions. The construction, which was managed to be resumed, should end without a delay and there should be no obstruction. The court’s ruling should be also noted that the state has no liability for damages done to the protestors by its exercise of government authority during the construction of a naval base in Gangjeong Village in Jeju. Third parties must leave Miryang.