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China: New Measures Proposed for the Protection of the Environment 全国人大常委会公布《环境保护法修正案(草案)》(08/31/2012)

The Amendments to the Environmental Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China (Draft for Comments) (“Draft  Environmental Amendments”) were published by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) on August 31, 2012. The public comment period ran until September 30, 2012. The Draft Environmental Amendments prescribe new rules for environmental protection and clarify some issues that were not specifically addressed before. The following changes are reflected in the Draft Environmental Amendments:

I. Control of the Major Pollutants

The Draft Environmental Amendments aim to regulate and control the total amount of major pollutants discharged. The National Development and Reform Department (NDRC) shall, in cooperation with other relevant departments and under the principle of fairness, science and reasonableness, render opinions on the allocation of quotas on the total amount of major pollutants in China, subject to State Council approval. Provincial governments shall take actions appropriate to their specific environmental conditions to reduce and control the discharge amount of the major pollutants to meet their allocated quotas. Furthermore, companies are subject to both the quotas imposed by the central and local governments and national and local discharge standards.

II. Environmental Protection Responsibility System

The Draft Environmental Amendments stipulate that companies that pollute or produce other public nuisance shall establish an internal environmental protection responsibility system. This system requires the company to install someone to be in charge of oversight and to create a reporting and supervision mechanism.

III. Application for and Charge of Pollutants Discharge

The Draft Environmental Amendments modifies the current Environmental Protection Law by requiring an application to discharge pollutants and associated fees. Pursuant to these rules, a company or institution that discharges pollutants shall register with the relevant environmental authority and pay a certain amount of fees in accordance with the category of pollutants and the extent to which the pollutants will negatively impact the environment.

  • ·         Amendments to the Environmental Protection Law of the People's Republic of China (Draft)  
  • ·         ((中华人民共和国环境保护法修正案(草案)》
  • ·         Issuing Authority: the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress
  • ·          Date of Issuance: August 31, 2012 / Effective date: N/A
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About this Author


George Qi is a shareholder in Greenberg Traurig's Shanghai office. He focuses his practice primarily on China-related cross-border mergers and acquisitions, capital market, corporate finance and general corporate matters. He has wide-ranging experience advising multinational companies in acquisitions and otherwise doing business in China, and in advising Chinese private companies in raising capital in overseas capital markets.

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Dawn Zhang is a shareholder in Greenberg Traurig's Shanghai office. She has broad experience advising clients on venture capital, China-related cross-border mergers and acquisitions, restructuring, joint ventures, and general corporate matters. Before joining Greenberg Traurig, Dawn practiced in other international law firms for many years and served as the PRC legal counsel for a multinational corporation, where she handled a wide variety of corporate matters for public and emerging growth companies. Dawn passed the national PRC judicial qualification examination in 1998 and was admitted to practice in New York.

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