With the purpose of improving the quality and credibility of environmental testing data, the EPA is planning to establish an Environmental Testing and Analysis Fund and a Designated Testing and Analysis Organizations scheme by formulating the Environmental Testing and Analysis Act (the “Act”) to create a fair, independent and high-quality environmental analysis system.
The EPA pointed out that in comparison with the first draft, "designated" testing and analysis organizations, review and announcement of testing and analysis fee rates have been removed from the content of the (2nd) draft preannouncement, while the following has been added: The assigned person with the obligation to submit analysis must sign a standard contract with a designated testing and analysis organization, a category-based management system of testing and analysis organizations, and the analysis laboratories of local environmental agencies must acquire a license. The following were also added: If testing and analysis organizations commit forgeries in their analysis, the penalty can be aggravated to revoke all types of licenses, and trust protection shall be given for a certain period to the testing and analysis organizations that have acquired licenses, the employees and the environmental testing equipment that have been used following the promulgation of the Act.
In March and April 2020, the EPA conducted nine consultation sessions to discuss the bill with various sectors. The general concern reflected by the industry was that the selection of designated analysis organizations through the analysis management platform in the first draft preannouncement, and the review and the announcement of testing and analysis fee rates would affect the freedom of commerce and that the impact on the existing testing system would be too great. Having consulted and consolidated the opinions from the sectors, the EPA adjusted the content of the draft Act and delivered the second draft preannouncement.
The draft Act was preannounced for the first time on 25 January 2021. Its main items were the inclusion of both the industry and the testing and analysis organizations to be regulated by the Act, the plan to announce the formation of an Environmental Testing and Analysis Fund through the collection of testing and analysis fees from assigned persons with the obligation to submit an analysis, the establishment of an impartial and third-party testing and analysis management platform through which proper testing and analysis organizations are selected by the competent authority as designated testing and analysis organizations to conduct tests for assigned persons with the obligation to submit analysis and review and announce the testing and analysis fee rates, that assigned persons with the obligation to submit analysis must make the payment in advance, to ensure the impartiality of the testing and analysis organizations. In addition, the issuance of licenses to testing and analysis organizations was optimized, and mechanisms to certify testing and analysis personnel and equipment were established to ensure the quality of testing data, the professionalism in testing procedures and the accuracy of data. Other mechanisms, such as whistleblower clauses, rewards for reporting violations, confiscation of illegal gains and rewards from violation cases were also included in the draft.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, January 2022
- Ministry of Environment