Build­ing im­pact re­ports will be re­leased

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - NATION / DIGEST - By WU WENCONG wuwen­cong@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Com­plete re­ports on the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of con­struc­tion projects with a high po­ten­tial for pol­lut­ing the en­vi­ron­ment will be dis­closed to the pub­lic from Jan 1, the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Min­istry said on Tues­day.

The min­istry said in a state­ment on its web­site that it will fully dis­close a project’s en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact as­sess­ment for pub­lic su­per­vi­sion, ex­clud­ing mat­ters that con­cern State se­crets, busi­ness se­crets and per­sonal pri­vacy.

So far, only ex­tracts of en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact as­sess­ment re­ports have been dis­closed.

The min­istry also said pledges by a lo­cal gov­ern­ment that a con­struc­tion project will not harm the en­vi­ron­ment and peo­ple’s liveli­hoods must also be re­leased to the pub­lic in or­der to make lo­cal offi cials more ac­count­able.

All doc­u­ments filed dur­ing an en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact as­sess­ment of a project should be dis­closed, re­gard­less of what the as­sess­ment finds. The min­istry said that peo­ple should judge for them­selves if en­vi­ron­men­tal of­fi­cials are do­ing their jobs in a le­gal, sci­en­tific, open, hon­est and ef­fec­tive man­ner.

“The state­ment has been is­sued to solve re­peated vi­o­la­tions of the cur­rent en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact as­sess­ment sys­tem, such as il­le­gal con­struc­tion, chang­ing a project be­fore re­ceiv­ing an ap­proval, and forg­ing data or con­clu­sions,” said an of­fi­cial at the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Min­istry who asked not to be named.

Ma Jun, di­rec­tor at the In­sti­tute of Pub­lic and En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs, an NGO that has been call­ing for the dis­clo­sure of en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact re­ports in China for years, said it is a great ad­vance for the gov­ern­ment.

“But this is also just the first step to achieve pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion in the as­sess­ment process,” said Ma. “The gov­ern­ment should take mea­sures to en­sure that all stake­hold­ers in projects are in­formed when in­for­ma­tion is dis­closed.”

The min­istry also said in a no­tice on Tues­day that there will be penal­ties for false in­for­ma­tion dis­clo­sures.

The au­thor­i­ties will also revoke busi­ness li­censes of any em­ployee or agency found forg­ing data. For projects where con­struc­tion or pro­duc­tion starts be­fore ap­proval is given, the au­thor­i­ties will hand over those re­spon­si­ble for the con­struc­tion to dis­ci­pline in­spec­tion de­part­ments.

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