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Shanghai battery factory canceled over protest

By Wang Zhenghua  (China Daily)

09:19, May 16, 2013

Plans for plant pulled after protests over environmental concerns

A Shanghai battery maker has given in to public pressure and canceled its plans for a new lithium battery factory in the city's Songjiang district.

Shanghai Guoxuan New Energy said on Wednesday it had withdrawn its investment for the Songjiang program and would return the planned factory site to the local government, without claiming any compensation.

The company gave in after hundreds of residents of Songjiang, in Shanghai's southwestern outskirts, held three protests against the planned factory out of concern about potential wastewater and gas emissions from the plant.

A fourth protest had been planned for this weekend in downtown Shanghai.

A resident named Zhu said on Wednesday that local people viewed the planned plant as a safety hazard.

The project has upset many and its cancelation gave people a sigh of relief, she said.

"Everybody is texting the news, and there are plans for a celebration," she said.

"We are delighted with the company's decision because we love Songjiang and we want a safe and clean environment."

Plans for the factory on a 23-acre plot in Songjiang Industrial Park were first announced in a joint news conference issued in August by the industrial park and Shanghai Guoxuan, a subsidiary of Hefei Guoxuan High-tech Power Energy Co Ltd.

Despite an official environmental evaluation that claimed the project would cause little air or water pollution, residents were still concerned and started organizing protests last month.

In recent weeks, Songjiang government officials tried to persuade residents to accept the project, saying the plant would only be allowed to produce lithium cells and conduct final assembly of the batteries.

Officials at Songjiang's publicity office said on Wednesday that the district government would complete any necessary cleanup work after the project has been totally shut down.

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