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China rejects billions in investment to protect environment

Updated: Aug 7,2015 8:57 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China rejected 17 proposed construction projects involving a total investment of 109 billion yuan ($17.6 billion) for reasons of environmental protection in the first half of 2015, the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) said on Aug 7.

The 17 projects were among 92 examined by the MEP in the first six months, which involved more than 700 billion yuan investment in total.

China is improving its environmental impact assessment system. A better system is crucial to protecting the environment and fixing loopholes that allow corruption.

According to the MEP, all environmental impact assessment agencies must cut their links to governments at all levels by the end of 2016 to avoid corruption. Moreover, the ministry has launched random inspections of agencies and acted on tip-offs from the public, disqualifying dozens of agencies and engineers.

The MEP has speeded up approval of major projects such as railways and irrigation in accordance with the law and regulations.