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 on Thursday.
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.
Among the blocked projects, 29 were in the highly polluting
industries such as coal-burning power stations and various chemical
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.
"We refuse 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
Public 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 SEPA on Wednesday issued another document ordering
environmental departments and polluters to publicize information
regarding environmental degradation and pollution.
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
(Xinhua News Agency April 27, 2007)