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Good News from Korea

Saemangeum Reclamation Project must be halted immediately

Superb news today (February 4th, 2005): a Court in Seoul, South Korea has ruled that the Saemangeum Reclamation Project must be halted immediately, for a full re-evaluation.

The Court based its ruling on the fact that there is no longer a clear end-use for the land to be reclaimed. This is illegal under the Public Waters Act that demands that if public waters are to be reclaimed, then it must be primarily for agriculture. The Court ruled that no economic benefits can be expected from the Saemangeum reclamation project because of the anticipated economic costs caused by water pollution in the proposed reclamation reservoir (essential to developing agriculture); because any land created would be unusable for agriculture; and because of the costs of loss of the tidal-flat ecosystem.The Court clearly recognised the immense and irreversible damage that would be done to the tidal-flat system by the reclamation.

This ruling comes at a time when the Government of President Roh (elected under a promise to be reformist, liberal and democratic) is being increasingly criticised by Korean media, NGOs and ordinary people because of its (stubborn) pushing of a number of development projects: the Saemangeum Reclamation; the building of a tunnel through Mount Cheonseong National Park for the Seoul-Busan high-speed railway; and a massive project to relocate the Korean capital, Seoul, to a new, undeveloped site in the countryside. None of these projects have been properly assessed for their environmental impact - all three are clearly deeply damaging.We all need to add to this internal pressure to make certain that the Korean Government understands how poorly their decisions are reflecting upon them internationally. They need to be made to understand that potential tourism will be affected if they continue with the reclamation. We need them to understand how badly such disregard for the environment is received abroad.

Campaigners have written a letter that they urge as many people as possible to copy and send to the email addresses given.

A great deal of work has earned this fantastic opportunity to get the catastrophic Saemangeum Reclamation project stopped - please spend just a few minutes of your time now and help them finish off this project once and for all.

For more information on the Saemangeum reclamation project in English, go to: http://www.birdskorea.org/saemref.asp For recent court opinions and government responses, go to: http://www.birdskorea.org/saemref.asp#latnews

For the Letter to Korean Embassies in Your Country a list of contact email addresses for a number of Korean embassies abroad can be found and you can add your support by visiting the Proact site at: http://www.proact-campaigns.net/southkorea/success_feb2005.html

4th July 2014