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law of the people's republic of china on environmental impact assessment

the law of the people’s republic of china on environmental impact assessment was adopted at the 30th meeting of the standing committee of the ninth national people’s congress on october 28, 2002, and is hereby promulgated with the order no. 77 of chairman of the people’s republic of china, which shall be put into effect as of september 1, 2003.

chapter i general provisions

article 1this law is formulated for the purpose of implementing the strategy of sustainable development, preventing adverse impact on the environment due to execution of plans and construction projects, and facilitating the coordinated development of the economy, the society and the environment.

article 2 “environmental impact assessment” as used in this law refers to the method and system for conducting analysis, prediction and assessment on the environmental impact that might arise from implementation of plans and construction projects, putting forward countermeasures and measures for preventing or alleviating adverse environmental impact, and performing follow-up monitoring.

article 3 development of plans as defined in article 9 of this law and construction of projects that have environmental impact within the territory of the people’s republic of china and other sea areas under the jurisdiction of the people’s republic of china shall be subject to environmental impact assessment according to this law. 

article 4 environment impact assessment must be objective, open and impartial, taking into comprehensive consideration the impact on all the various environmental factors and the ecological system constituted thereby that might result from implementation of plans and construction projects, thus providing scientific basis for decision making.

article 5 the state shall encourage relevant units, experts and the public to participate in environmental impact assessment by proper means.

article 6 the state shall strengthen the construction of the basic database and assessment index system for environmental impact assessment, encourage and support the scientific study on the methods and technical codes for environmental impact assessment, establish necessary information sharing system for environmental impact assessment and raise the scientificalness of environmental impact assessment.

the competent department of environmental protection administration under the state council shall organize to establish and improve the basic database and assessment index system for environmental impact assessment in conjunction with relevant departments under the state council.


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article 7 competent departments under the state council, the local people’s government at or above the city level with establishment of districts and their competent departments shall organize environmental impact assessment and compile the division or notes about environment impact in their developed land utilization related plans and the plans for construction, exploitation and utilization of areas, drainage basins and sea areas.

the environmental impact division or notes of the plan shall make analysis, prediction and assessment on the environment impact that might arise from implementation of the plan and put forward countermeasures and measures for preventing or alleviating adverse environmental impact, as an integral part of the draft plan for submitting to the approval authorities of the plan.

the approval authorities shall not grant approval to draft plans without the division or notes concerning environmental impact developed.

article 8 competent departments under the state council, the local people’s government at or above the city level with establishment of districts and their competent departments, while organizing the compilation of relevant special plans for industry, agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry, energy resources, water conservancy, traffic, urban construction, tourism and natural resource exploitation (hereinafter referred to as special plans), shall organize environmental impact assessment before submitting the draft special plans for approval, and submit the environmental impact report to the authorities responsible for approval of the special plans. 

the directive plan in the special plans as listed in the preceding clause shall be subject to environmental impact assessment according to article 7 of this law.

article 9 the specific scope of plans subject to environmental impact assessment pursuant to provisions in article 7 and article 8 of this law shall be defined by the competent department of environmental protection administration under the state council in conjunction with relevant departments under the state council, and submitted to the state council for approval. 

article 10 the environmental impact report of special plans shall include the following contents:

(1) analysis, prediction and assessment of the environmental impact that might result from implementation of the plan;

(2) countermeasures and measures for preventing or alleviating adverse environmental impact;

(3) conclusion of environmental impact assessment.

article 11 while developing a plan that might cause adverse environmental impact and directly relates to public environmental interests, the department for the special plan development shall hold demonstration or hearing, or solicit related units, experts and the public by other means for comments on the draft environmental impact report before the draft plan is submitted for approval. 

the department for the plan development shall take into serious consideration the comments of related units, experts and the public on the draft environmental impact report, and enclose in the environmental impact report submitted for review an explanation on whether to adopt the comments or not. 

article 12 while submitting the draft plan for review, the department for the special plan development shall enclose the environmental impact report along with the draft plan to the approving authorities for review; the approving authorities shall not grant approval to plans without the environmental impact report attached.

article 13 before the people’s government at or above the city level with establishment of districts approves a draft special plan and makes decision, the competent department of environmental protection administration or other departments as designated by the people’s government shall call representatives for relevant departments and experts together to form a review group to review the environmental impact report. 

experts participating in the review group as defined in the preceding clause shall be determined by random taking from the experts list of respective disciplines in the database of experts established according to the stipulations of the competent department of environmental protection administration under the state council.

for special plans to be approved by relevant departments of the people’s government at or above the provincial level, the method for review of the environmental impact report shall be formulated by the competent department of environmental protection administration under the state council in conjunction with relevant departments under the state council.

article 14 while approving a draft special plan, the competent departments of the people’s government at or above the city level with establishment of districts or at or above the provincial level shall regard the conclusion of the environmental impact report and the review comments as an important basis for decision making. 

where the conclusion of the environmental impact report and the review comments are not adopted during the approval, explanation must be provided and filed for future reference. 

article 15 after implementation of a plan that has significant impact on the environment, the department that has developed the plan shall timely organize follow-up assessment on the environmental impact, and report the assessment result to the approving authorities. in the event of any apparent adverse environmental impact identified, measures for improvement must be proposed immediately. 

chapter iii environmental impact assessment for construction projects
article 16 the state shall execute classified administration on environment impact assessment of construction projects according to the extent of the project environmental impact.

the construction unit shall organize to develop the environmental impact report and environmental impact report forms, or fill up and submit the environmental impact registration form (hereinafter referred to as environmental impact assessment documents in general) according to the following stipulations:

(1) where significant environmental impact might result, an environmental impact report shall be developed to comprehensively assess the environmental impact;

(2) where slight environmental impact might result, an environmental impact report form shall be developed to make analysis or special assessment on the environmental impact;

(3) where the environmental impact is very small, rendering environmental impact assessment unnecessary, the environmental impact registration form shall be filled up. 

the directory for classified administration of environmental impact assessment of construction projects shall be formulated and publicized by the competent department of environmental protection administration under the state council.

article 17 the environmental impact report of construction projects shall include the following contents:

(1) general description of the project; 

(2) environmental status in the surroundings of the project;

(3) analysis, prediction and assessment on the environment impact that might result from the project;

(4) environmental protection measures for the project and their technical and economic demonstration;

(5) economic gain or loss analysis on the environmental impact of the project;

(6) suggestion on environmental monitoring of the project;

(7) conclusion of environmental impact assessment.

construction projects relating to water and soil conservancy must also have a water and soil conservancy plan approved by the competent department of water resource administration.

the contents and format of the environmental impact report form and the environmental impact registration form shall be formulated by the competent department of environmental protection administration under the state council.

article 18 environmental impact assessment of construction projects shall avoid repeating environmental impact assessment of plans.

the plan for an integral construction project shall be subject to environmental impact assessment of the construction project rather than environmental impact assessment of the plan.

for a specific construction project covered by a plan that has been subject to environmental impact assessment, the construction unit may simplify the contents of environmental impact assessment of the project.

article 19 an organization entrusted to provide technical service for environmental impact assessment of construction projects shall hold qualification certificate issued by the competent department of environmental protection administration under the state council after it has passed the examination and review by the latter, undertake environmental impact assessment service according to the grading and assessment scope defined in the qualification certificate, and assume responsibility for the conclusion of assessment. the qualification conditions and administration method for organizations providing technical service for environmental impact assessment of construction projects shall be formulated by the competent department of environmental protection administration under the state council. 

the competent department of environmental protection administration under the state council shall publicize the list of organizations that have obtained the qualification certificate to provide technical service for environmental impact assessment of construction projects.

organizations providing technical service for environmental impact assessment of construction projects shall not have relations of interests with the competent department of environmental protection administration responsible for approving the environmental impact assessment documents of construction projects or with other approving authorities.

article 20the environmental impact report or environmental impact report form in the environmental impact assessment documents shall be developed by organizations possessing respective qualification for environmental impact assessment. 

no unit or individual shall designate for the construction unit the organization for environmental impact assessment of construction project. 

article 21 with exception of confidential circumstances as specified by the state, for construction projects that might cause significant impact on the environment and need the environmental impact report, the construction unit shall hold demonstration or hearing, or solicit related units, experts and the public by other means for comments before submitting the project environmental impact report for approval. 

the environmental impact report submitted by the construction unit for approval shall be complete with an explanation on whether or not to adopt the comments of related units, experts and the public. 

article 22 environmental impact assessment documents of the construction project shall be submitted by the construction unit to the competent department of environmental protection administration with approving power for approval in accordance with stipulations of the state council. where the construction project has its own competent department of industrial administration, the environmental impact report or environmental impact report form shall first be subject to preliminary examination by the competent department of industrial administration before it is submitted to the competent department of environmental protection administration with approving power for approval.

approval to the marine environmental impact report of oceaneering construction projects shall be handled in accordance with the law of the people’s republic of china on marine environmental protection.

the approving authorities shall make approval decision and give the construction unit written notification within 60 days after receipt of the environmental impact report, 30 days after receipt of the environmental impact report form, and 15 days after receipt of the environmental impact registration form respectively. 

preliminary review, verification and approval of environmental impact assessment documents of construction projects shall be subject to no charge of fees.

article 23 the competent department of environmental protection administration under the state council shall be responsible for approving the following environmental impact assessment documents of construction projects.

(1) a construction project of special nature, such as nuclear facility and top secret project;

(2) a construction project that lies in different administrative regions of provinces, autonomous regions and municipality directly under the central government;

(3) a construction project to be approved by the state council or by relevant department authorized by the state council.

for construction projects other than those defined in the preceding clause, the power of examination and approval of environmental impact assessment documents shall be defined by the people’s government of the province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the central government. 

where the construction project might result in trans-administrative regional adverse environmental impact, and the competent departments of environmental protection administration have disputing opinions on the conclusion of environmental impact assessment, the environmental impact assessment documents shall be approved by their common immediately higher level competent department of environmental protection administration. 

article 24 in the event the nature, scale, location, production process adopted, or measures for preventing pollution and ecological damage of a construction project have experienced major changes after approval of the environmental impact assessment documents of the project, the construction unit shall re-submit environmental impact assessment documents of the project for approval.

in the event it has been five years since approval of the environmental impact assessment documents of a construction project that the project construction is decided to be commenced, the environmental impact assessment documents shall be submitted to the same approving authorities for re-review. the same approving authorities shall notify the construction unit of the review comments in writing within 10 days after receipt of the environmental impact assessment documents of the project.

article 25 in the event the environmental impact assessment documents of a construction project has not been reviewed by the approving authorities specified according to law, or approval is not granted after the review, the project approving authorities shall not approve the project for construction, and the construction unit shall not commence the construction. 

article 26 during project construction, the construction unit shall also implement the environmental protection countermeasures and measures raised in the approval comments of the approving authorities of environmental impact reports, environmental impact report forms and environmental impact assessment documents.

article 27 in the case of discrepancy from the approved environmental impact assessment documents occurring during project construction and operation, the construction unit shall organize post-assessment of environmental impact, take measures for improvement, and submit all these documents to the previous authorities responsible for approving the environmental impact assessment documents and the authorities responsible for approving construction project for filing. the previous authorities responsible for approving the environmental impact assessment documents may also order the construction unit to conduct post-assessment of environmental impact and take measures for improvement.

article 28 the competent department of environmental protection administration shall conduct follow-up inspection on the environmental impact occurring after the construction project is put in operation or service, and in case of serious environmental pollution or ecological damage caused, shall investigate and ascertain the reason and identify the liability. if it is a case that the organization providing technical service for environmental impact assessment of a construction project has developed unreal environmental impact assessment documents, it shall be subject to legal liability pursuant to provisions in article 33 of this law; if it is a case that personnel of the approving authorities, due to dereliction of duty or malpractice, give approval to environmental impact assessment documents of a construction project that should not be given, they shall be subject to legal liability pursuant to provisions in article 35 of this law.

chapter iv legal liability

article 29 in the event the department responsible for developing a plan violates this law and practices fraud or fails in its duty while organizing the environmental assessment, resulting in serious inconsistency with facts, the personnel directly in charge and other persons directly liable shall be subject to administrative sanction by the competent higher level department of the government or the supervisory department according to law.

article 30 in the event the department responsible for approving a plan, by violating the law, gives approval to a draft plan for which a specific division or explanation about environmental impact should be developed according to law but is actually not, or a draft special plan to which an environmental impact report should be attached according to law but is actually not, the personnel directly in charge and other persons directly liable shall be subject to administrative sanction by the competent higher level department of the government or the supervisory department according to law. 

article 31 in the event the construction unit commences project construction at its own discretion without submitting environmental impact assessment documents of the construction project for approval according to law, or without re-submitting for approval or applying for re-review of the environmental impact documents pursuant to article 24 of this law, the competent department of environmental protection administration with the power to approve the environmental impact assessment documents of this project shall order the suspension of construction for making up for the missing formalities within a deadline; in case the construction unit fails to make up for the missing formalities after the deadline is exceeded, a fine of 50,000~200,000 yuan rmb shall be imposed, and the personnel of the construction unit directly in charge and other persons directly liable shall be subject to administrative sanction according to law.

in the event the construction unit commences construction of the project at its own discretion while the environmental impact assessment documents have not been approved yet, or not been re-reviewed and agreed by the previous approving authorities, the competent department of environmental protection administration with the power to approve the environmental impact assessment documents of this project shall order the suspension of construction and may impose a fine of 50,000~200,000 yuan rmb, and the personnel of the construction unit directly in charge and other persons directly liable shall be subject to administrative sanction according to law.

in the event the construction unit of an oceaneering construction project acts in violation of the law as indicated in the two preceding clauses, punishment shall be given in accordance with the law of the people’s republic of china on marine environmental protection.

article 32 in the event the approving authorities, at their own discretion, approve the construction of a project for which environmental impact assessment should be conducted according to law but is actually not, or for which the environmental assessment documents have not been approved according to law, the personnel directly in charge and other persons directly liable shall be subject to administrative sanction by the competent higher level department of the government or the supervisory department according to law; if the act constitutes a crime, the personnel in question shall be investigated for criminal responsibility according to law.

article 33 in the event an organization entrusted to provide technical service for environmental impact assessment of construction projects takes an irresponsible approach and practices fraud in environmental impact assessment, resulting in inaccurateness of the environmental impact assessment documents, the competent department of environmental protection administration responsible for granting the qualification certificate for environmental impact assessment shall degrade the qualification or suspend the qualification certificate, and concurrently impose a fine 1~3 times the charged fee; if the act constitutes a crime, it shall be investigated for criminal responsibility according to law.

article 34 in the event the department responsible for preliminary review, verification and approval of environmental impact assessment documents of construction projects charges fees for approval, the competent department at a higher level or the supervisory department shall order it to return the charged fees; in a serious case, the persons directly in charge or other persons directly liable shall be given administrative sanction according to law.

article 35 any staff member of the competent department of environmental protection administration or of other departments who engages in malpractices for personal gains, abuses his power or neglects his duty, to give approval to the environmental impact assessment of construction projects in violation of the law, shall be given administrative sanction; if his act constitutes a crime, he shall be investigated for criminal responsibility according to law.

chapter v supplementary provisions

article 36 the people’s government of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government may require environmental impact assessment on the plans developed by the people’s government at the county level under their respective jurisdiction according to the actual local situation. the specific measures for this purpose shall be formulated by the province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the central government according to provisions in chapter ii of this law.

article 37 the method for environmental impact assessment of military facility construction projects shall be formulated by the central military commission of the p.r.c. according to the principles set out in this law.

article 38 this law shall enter into force on september 1, 2003.

(this english version is for your reference only. in case any discrepancy exists between the chinese and english context, the chinese version shall prevail.)
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