We have previously discussed the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s new “green passage” for project Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approvals. As we noted “green” is being used here as it is used in customs clearance. The “green passage” means “nothing to declare” and speeds you on your way. Thus “projects that are deemed to have the effect of boosting domestic demand” are being whisked through the EIA review process.
MEP only reviews the EIAs of the very largest projects in the country. Sub-national Environmental Protection Bureaus are charged with reviewing the EIAs for all other projects.
This week’s Economist features the small Hebei Province city of Xinji in an article entitled, “A great migration into the unknown“. It looks like the “green passage” has worked its way down into the hinterlands
In December Xinji’s environmental bureau said that in order to “address the negative impact” of the crisis, it would “simplify” procedures in order to provide swift clearance for those projects that would create “little” or no pollution-a strong hint that it was lowering its guard.
A “green passage” at the national level is a little disconcerting. At the local level, it’s a recipe for disaster.