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Shenao Power Plant Expansion Project Approved by Environmental Impact Assessment Review

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During the EIA committee meeting held to review the first analysis report on the environmental differences between the pre- and post-expansion of the Shenao Power Plant, the project was passed in an anonymous vote. Eight votes were in favor of “Amended and approved” and eight votes were in favor of “Re-evaluation of the EIA”. The Chairman’s final adjudication decided that it would be “Amended and approved”.

Article 16 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act stipulates that if the content of an EIA approved development project is to be modified, the modification will be reviewed again in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Enforcement Rules. Based on the extent of the modification, the revised development project will be reviewed using different methods, which include: applying for reviews with the local environmental protection bureau, submitting a comparison chart of the original and revised content, submitting an analysis report on the differences between the environmental impacts, and re-conducting environmental impact assessment for the modified content.

The Shenao Power Plant Expansion Project is an example of a modified development project that was originally reviewed and passed in 2006. After the expansion project was modified, both the development scale and overall pollutant emissions have decreased and environmental protection efficiency has significantly increased. Furthermore, the altered content does not involve the protected areas and vegetated buffer strips in the original project, so the surrounding areas will not be affected. Hence, the modifications will be superior for environmental protection compared to the original version.

The current rules regarding the analysis and strategy evaluation report on the differences between the pre- and post-development activity environments do not provide the authority to revoke the original EIA results. Consequently, old development projects that have passed the EIA previously but would no longer be qualified under current regulations are still immune from being revoked or reviewed again for an up-to-date judgment. To solve this problem, the EPA has preannounced the draft of amendments to the Environmental Impact Assessment Act on 20 September 2017. According to the drafted amendments, a new stipulation has been added to Articles 24 and 30 so that the competent authority will be required to modify or revoke the original EIA result when deemed necessary. In addition, the EPA also revised Article 31 of the Act to stipulate that the EIA result will become invalid if the development activity has not commenced within the specified time after receiving approval.

Ministry of Environment