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Pressure pushes new power plant to relocate

(Global Times)

10:13, November 15, 2012

Complaints and past protests by residents of Foshan, Guangdong Province succeeded in stopping the expansion of a thermal power plant, which authorities are now proposing to move around 400 kilometers southwest to a site near Zhanjiang city if an environmental assessment proves it feasible.

The plant said Monday that an environmental assessment had been launched at the new Zhanjiang location for the planned 7.4 billion yuan ($1.18 billion) project.

The original Foshan plant, established in 1997, has been accused of emitting pollutants containing excessive levels of sulfur dioxide, which many people said caused a sharp increase in the number of people suffering respiratory diseases.

Located near Donghai Island in Zhanjiang, the new plant is to be built in a more remote area and will not occupy existing farmland nor will homes be demolished, said the plant's website.

The expansion of the Foshan plant had been in the works for a number of years. Previous reports said residents protested demanding the company clean up its emissions.

A group of deputies to the local People's Congress in Guangdong submitted a letter to the National People's Congress in 2009, calling for the suspension of the expansion and a more rigorous environmental assessment.

Data from the Foshan environmental authorities shows the plant was listed as a major source of pollution in Guangdong from 2008 to 2010. In 2011, authorities declared the plant a "green company," which left many nearby residents incredulous.

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