China's environment watchdog blocks 12 industrial projects for lack of public support
Twelve industrial projects are denied environmental protection
approvals to operation on grounds that the public have not been invited to
assess pollution control measures, China's environment watchdog announced
They are among the 43 projects, with a combined investment of 160
billion yuan (US$20.5 billion), that had been rejected construction by the State
Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) in the past year.
blocked projects, 29 were in the highly polluting industries such as
coal-burning power stations and various chemical plants.
The other 31 had
finally been granted the approval after they carried out public opinion
consultation properly, said Pan Yue, deputy director of the SEPA.
to hand out environmental protection approvals to these projects for they failed
to pass public assessment. Some failed to properly inform the public on
potential pollution and some collected the opinion that did not reflect the
thoughts of the majority," he said.
In March last year, the SEPA issued
provisional regulations to require industrial project managers to consult public
opinion -- for example by conducting public survey and hearing -- on a project's
potential impact on the environment before construction starts.
involvement must be carried out in "an open, equal, extensive and convenient
way," said the regulations.
He said public opinion helped reduce many
pollution threats including a chemical plant in central Wuhan city that emitted
eroding gas and a coal-burning power station in southeastern Fuzhou city that
caused floating dusts.
China first looked into a way of involving the public
in 2005, when a construction project in Yuanmingyuan, a former imperial garden
in the northwestern suburbs of Beijing, caused an uproar in the country.
SEPA on Wednesday issued another document ordering environmental departments and
polluters to publicize information regarding environmental degradation and
Companies or factories exceeding pollution levels and whose
facilities are not up to environmental standards will have to report this
information, the document says.
"Polluting companies have to publish
information concerning the discharge of main pollutants in local media within 30
days after local environmental departments draw up company blacklists,"
according to the regulations.
The document came after the release of a decree
on Tuesday by the State Council to boost official transparency by ordering
government departments to be more open in reporting