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Environmental fears delay Chengdu-Lanzhou rail line approval

(China Daily)

08:48, December 20, 2012

Approval of an environmental assessment for a rail line between Chengdu in Southwest China and Lanzhou in the northwest has been postponed.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection said it has delayed approval because the line's surroundings may be affected, Economic Information reported on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the ministry said work on the section running from Chengdu to Chuanzhusi, both in Sichuan province, will be delayed because it has yet to pass the environmental impact assessment, the newspaper reported.

The project will pass through eight natural protection areas, home to species including the giant panda and golden snub-nosed monkey, the report said.

The ministry said the project, worth about 23.5 billion yuan ($3.77 billion) in investment, lacks studies about the environmental impact on these protected areas, and the line may result in added noise at these locations, the report said.

The ministry also said the assessment lacks local residents' opinions and reaction.

Under regulations covering natural protection areas, large facilities and projects that may destroy resources or pollute the environment cannot be established in such places.

"Any construction project should be in line with the law," the newspaper quoted Jiang Mingkang, an environmental expert and member of the State Natural Reserves Assessment Committee under the State Council, or cabinet, as saying.

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