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Draft Revisions of Air Pollution Control Regulations for Semiconductor Industry Preannounced

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On 18 February 2023, the EPA preannounced the draft revisions of the Air Pollution Control and Emissions Standards for the Semiconductor Industry (半導體製造業空氣污染管制及排放標準). With a view to be more practical and streamlined and encourage voluntary management, the revisions have added emission concentration standards as well as regulations for evaluating monitoring and inspections. Concentration standards for individual emission channels are set to replace previous controls targeting the total emissions of plants. Other focuses include strengthening voluntary monitoring for emission channels and simplifying regulations concerning regular inspections. The ultimate goal is to ensure both air pollution prevention and control as well as the semiconductor industry’s development with simplified administrative procedures for the public’s convenience.

Following the booming development of semiconductor manufacturers and other high-tech industries, it is of higher importance to address the various resulting environment issues. The focus of the amendment was to regulate the concentrations from individual emission channels instead of the original controls for total emission regardless of the scale of a plant. The goal is to give more flexibility to environment efforts and management of production capacity while urging newly built plants or launched production processes to select facilities that emit less pollution or are more effective in pollution prevention and control. Emission standards were also added to enhance competent authorities’ inspections and make it more convenient for enterprisers in their voluntary management.

In addition, the list of the Stationary Pollution Sources in Public and Private Premises Required for Regular Testing and Registration (公私場所應定期檢測及申報之固定汙染源) was announced on 6 June 2022. In line with the list’s regulations regarding inspections, the revised Standards mandate those with high emission concentrations and prone to cause pollution to install emission monitoring equipment in order to strengthen voluntary management.

The EPA emphasized that, since its promulgation on 6 January 1999, the Standards has laid a solid foundation to effectively manage air pollution prevention and controls for the semiconductor industry. This has been achieved via direct controls, from the technological aspect, on air pollution emissions from the manufacturing processes. Despite revisions of multiple regulations over the years, the Standards had not gone through an overall review. Upon closer examination of its execution and problems, it became evident that a thorough amendment was necessary so as to improve the current air pollution control and prevention results and also the management mechanism. Meanwhile, regulations regarding inspection periods under the Stationary Pollution Sources in Public and Private Premises Required for Regular Testing and Registration were adjusted in consideration of the industry’s features. The EPA hopes to, via the revisions this time, provide convenience to the public with simplified procedures and also improved air pollution prevention and control in the semiconductor industry, creating a win-win situation for environmental protection and the industry’s development.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, February 2023

Ministry of Environment