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Thursday, December 15, 2016, 09:32

China to separate environmental agencies from govt departments

By Xinhua

China to separate environmental agencies from govt departments
A coal-fired power plant in Nantong, Jiangsu province. According to the Miinistry of Environmental Protection, China will cut all connections between environmental impact assessment agencies and governments by 2016. (CHINA DAILY)

Beijing -- China will cut all connections between environment impact assessment (EIA) agencies and governments by the end of the year to ensure independent and fair project reviews , the Ministry of Environmental Protection said Wednesday.

In early 2015, all EIA agencies were ordered to terminate all official connections  to avoid corruption and conflict of interest

A total of 337 EIA agencies once affiliated with local governments have disconnected themselves and set up independent companies or canceling qualifications while the remaining 13 agencies will have their qualifications canceled by the end of December, according to Huang Runqiu, deputy head with the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

In early 2015 all government-affiliated EIA agencies were ordered to terminate all official connections by the end of 2016 to avoid corruption and conflict of interest.

Eight EIA agencies disconnected their government affiliations in 2015.

Earlier this week, China punished nearly 700 officials for inadequately protecting the environment in the latest round of rolling inspections. The previous round led to more than 3,000 officials being disciplined and 198 million yuan (US$29 million) in fines being handed out for environmental violations.

China's environment ministry was given authority earlier this year to investigate regions and enterprises without prior warning, and was empowered to summon any local government or company official to account for their actions.

China has been trying to strengthen its environmental powers as part of a "war on pollution" launched in 2014 to reverse the damage done by decades of untrammelled growth.

China is now home to 984 EIA agencies and 19,700 EIA engineers, up 90 percent compared with 2010.

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