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China revises law on marine environment protection

(Xinhua)    14:20, August 29, 2016

BEIJING, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- China's top legislature on Monday reviewed a draft amendment to the Marine Environment Protection Law, imposing more severe penalties for pollution following public outcry over small fines for massive oil leaks.

Minister of Land and Resources Jiang Daming said at the opening meeting of the legislature's bi-monthly session that the law eliminates the upper limit in fines of 300,000 yuan (45,000 U.S. dollars) and imposes fines of up to 20 to 30 percent of direct losses caused by the pollution.

An oil spill at the Penglai 19-3 oilfield, China's largest offshore oilfield, occurred in June 2011. The oil spread to beaches in Hebei and Liaoning provinces. ConocoPhillips China (COPC), operator of the oilfield, was blamed for the incident that resulted in the release of approximately 700 barrels of oil into the Bohai Bay and 2,500 barrels of mineral oil-based drilling mud onto the seabed. At that time the fine could not exceed 300,000 yuan, prompting public anger.

The draft, submitted by the State Council to the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, echoes the central leadership's recent emphasis on "conservation culture," according to the NPC Environment and Resources Protection Committee.

The amendment adds provisions on compensation and changes some articles to be compatible with the new Environmental Protection Law, which took effect last year.

The amended law will impose restrictions on development in sea areas that have not met the target for environmental protection, Jiang said.

The Marine Environment Protection Law was enacted in 1982 and comprehensively revised in 1999.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor: Huang Jin,Bianji)

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