China has suspended extending environmental approvals to future projects of the China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) and China Petrochemical Corp (Sinopec Group) due to their non-compliance to set pollution targets.
In a statement issued on Thursday, China's Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), based on a 2012 annual evaluation, said CNPC failed to reduce its chemical oxygen demand emissions, an indicator of water pollution, while the Sinopec Group failed to meet the targeted reduced emissions of nitric oxide, a metric for air pollution.
Specifically in 2012, CNPC's chemical oxygen demand decreased by only 0.08 per cent where the requirement measure was placed at 0.6 per cent. Sinopec, meantime, which was given a zero growth target nitrogen oxide emissions, actual discharges reached a 1.28 per cent jump year-on-year.
It was a move most welcomed by people in China.
"It's good news and significant action," Yang Fuqiang, a senior adviser at the environmental group National Resources Defense Council, was quoted by the Wall Street Journal. "It's a sign that the MEP is getting more firm and tough on state-owned enterprises as environmental degradation continues."
Because of the companies' failure to meet their anti-pollution targets, the ministry will suspend handing down approvals of environmental-impact assessments for new refining projects as well as the renovation and expansion of existing refineries.
Any new future projects cannot push forward unless those approvals are first secured.
"The length of the temporary suspension will be based on the MEP's assessment of their corrective measures," Tang Dagang, director of the Vehicle Emission Control Center, a policy research group also affiliated with the ministry, said.
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