China's central government has penalized two cities and eleven companies, including three steel mills, for failing to properly treat pollutant discharges, according to a release published by China's Ministry of Environmental Protection on 14 May.
The ministry says the blacklist is based on its 2009 annual emissions reduction evaluation results. Central China's Hunan Lianyuan Iron and Steel was banned from submitting environmental impact assessments for new projects requiring sulphur dioxide discharges until it completes building its desulphurization system and meet the ministry's standards.
Meanwhile, Beijing will directly supervise the upgrading of desulphurization facilities at Hubei Echeng Iron and Steel and Sichuan Dazhou Iron and Steel, which are located in central and southwestern China respectively. These two steel makers were ordered to suspend operations at their sintering facilities until they meet the ministry's standards and pass inspection.
Zhou Shengxian, China's minister of environmental protection, also said that mills which purposely shut desulphurization facilities, or falsify emissions data, will face heavy power fees and have their names disclosed to the public. He says Beijing will use a strict application of the administrative accountability system, which means local government and mill officials responsible could be censured if they fail to meet their target for cutting energy consumption and emissions reduction.
SBB notes the central government is urging governments at all levels to clamp down harder on obsolete iron and steel capacities, to meet Beijing's target of cutting energy consumption by 20% between 2006 and 2010.