The Planning Environmental Impact Assessment regulation (EIA), whose draft is now available for comment, is likely to be officially released this year, a senior environmental official said on the weekend.
Yang Chaofei, director of the policy, law and regulations department in the Ministry of Environmental Protection, told a forum jointly held with Greenpeace that the feedback process on the draft amendment would be finalized by Wednesday.
The draft will then be submitted to relevant authorities for review before its eventual release by the State Council at the end of the year.
The purpose of planning EIA is to ensure that environmental consequences of major development projects, such as chemical and power plants, are identified and assessed before approval is granted.
Planning EIA will be conducted much earlier in the decision-making process than project EIA, which fails to factor environmental impact on a wider geographic area, and is a major step toward sustainable development.
Public and environmental authorities are now invited to register their opinion on the draft.
China started legislation procedures on planning EIA two years ago.
Also during the forum, Greenpeace released survey results revealing that among 28 multinational companies operating in China, nearly half shirked the standard operating procedures of their countries of origin by not publicizing pollution information.
The 13 companies include ExxonMobil, General Motors, Total, Nissan, and Toyota.
Liu Lican, a manager of Greenpeace China, said: "Lack of impetus in China to unveil the information of pollution by those companies has greatly hurt the Chinese people's right to know about the truth."
(China Daily April 28, 2008)