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Environmental assessments go online

By Zheng Xin and Wu Wencong (China Daily)

14:26, August 30, 2012

Government orders impact reports to be put on Web after objections raised over projects

China's environmental protection agencies have been ordered to publish environmental impact assessment reports on their websites from Sept 1 to make the evaluations available to the public.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection said it issued the order to better regulate environmental impact assessments, after recent incidents in which environmental issues triggered widespread objections.

"People are more sensitive to environmental issues now, because of an increase in pollution accidents, aggravating environmental risks, and the public's increasing awareness of environmental rights," Environmental Protection Minister Zhou Shengxian said on Wednesday.

"The move is to encourage more public participation in the process of environmental impact evaluation."

In the first half of this year, the ministry approved 125 projects — involving a total investment of 687.2 billion yuan ($108.2 billion) — and rejected or suspended 17 for failing to meet environmental standards.

"The projects that were approved are, after all, for the good of the public. It's necessary to listen to the voice of the people and communicate with them harmoniously," Zhou said.

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