State Environmental Protection Administration Halts Six Aluminum Projects; Motivation May Stem from Development Plans

May 24, 2005

The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) has halted six aluminum projects in Henan and Shanxi provinces, according to these two late May reports (1, 2). SEPA officials charge that the project sponsors have violated the EIA law by failing to submit the required environmental impact assessment (EIA) reports for SEPA’s approval.

The decision to halt the aluminum projects may reflect environmental concerns, but it also may be motivated by concerns over energy shortages and a desire to limit some types of development plans. Energy company officials in Shanxi announced that the province will suffer the worst power shortage in history this summer and therefore government authorities are halting large polluting projects that consume lots of energy, reports Xinhua. Halting the projects may also be a part of larger government plans to prevent overinvestment in industries such as aluminum manufacturing. The problem was discussed in the National Development and Reform Commission's (NDRC) 2005 Economic and Social Development Plan.