Provisional Measures for Public Participation in Environmental Protection - Comment Draft

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Notice of the Release of the "Measures for Public Participation in Environmental Protection (Provisional)" (Draft Opinion for Solicitation of Comments)

 

To put in place and implement the provisions of the revised "Environmental Protection Law" special chapter on information disclosure and public participation, and advance the orderly development of public participation, Ministry of Environmental Protection has organized the drafting of these "Measures for Public Participation in Environmental Protection (Provisional)" (Draft Opinion for Solicitation of Comments). They are hereby disclosure to the public for solicitation of comments, and all [government] organs and groups, enterprises and public institutions, and individuals may submit comments to our Ministry. The deadline for comments is April 20, 2014.

Contact Persons: Ministry of Environmental Protection Department of Publicity and Education ; 黄瀞漪 and 赵莹

Telephone:(010)66556058 Fax:(010)66556057

Email:ghxjb@sina.com

4/10/2015

Attachment: "Measures for Public Participation in Environmental Protection (Provisional)" (Draft Opinion for Solicitation of Comments)

"Measures for Public Participation in Environmental Protection (Provisional)" (Draft Opinion for Solicitation of Comments)

Chapter I: General Provisions

Article 1: This measure was drafted for safeguarding citizens, legal persons, and other organizations that obtain environmental information, participate in and supervise environmental protection rights, a medium of unimpeded participation, promoting the healthy development of public participation in environmental protection, in accordance with the Environmental Protection Law and relevant laws and regulations.

Article 2: Public participation as used in these Measures refers to citizens, legal persons, and other organizations lawful participation in public affairs and activities on the environment, such as the formulation of environmental protection policy, environmental decision-making, and environmental law compliance.

Article 3: The scope of public participation in environmental protection includes:

(1) The drafting and revision of laws and regulations on environmental protection, as well as normative documents, policies, plans, and standards;

(2) Compiling environmental impact reports on plans or construction projects.

(3) Investigation and handling of major environmental pollution or ecological damage incidents that might seriously harm the public's environmental and health interests.

(4) Supervising the primary pollution discharge of key polluting units, as well as the construction and operation of anti-pollution equipment.

(5) Publicity and education, social practice, volunteer service and related public interest activities on environmental protection.

(6) Other matters provided for by laws, regulations and rules.

Article 4: Public participation shall follow the principles of being lawful and in accordance with law, in the public interest and voluntary, and open and interactive.

Article 5: Competent departments of environmental protection shall disclose environmental information in accordance with law; broadly solicit public opinions; and promptly respond and give feedback on public opinions, suggestions and reports; so as to provide services and support for public participation and supervision of environmental protection efforts.

Article 6: The public has the rights to obtain environment information in accordance with law, participate in and supervise environmental protection. Where the public finds that its environmental rights have been infringed upon, they may go through legally proscribed paths to seek administrative or judicial remedies.

Chapter II: Public Participation

Article 7: Competent departments of environmental protection may use methods such as soliciting comments, questionnaire surveys, symposium, evidentiary debate hearings, and hearings, to solicit the public's comments and suggestions on relevant affairs and activities; the public may give feedback, comments and suggestions by telephone, post, internet, public social media platforms and other such means.

Article 8: Before competent departments of environmental protection solicit public comments, they use methods such as official websites, the media, public platforms or other channels that facilitate the public's gaining knowledge, to disclose relevant environmental information other than that touching upon state secrets, commercial secrets, and personal privacy.

When the public finds that environmental information disclosed by the competent departments of environmental protection is incomplete, they may apply to have the competent department of environmental protection disclose the information in accordance with national provisions on information disclosure.

Article 9: Specialists include experts in fields such as science, technology, economics, sociology and law, who do not have an interest, and special inspectors hired by the competent department of environmental protection at any level. Interested parties includes units and individuals directly impacted by the affairs and activities provided for in article 3 of these Measures; and units and individuals in areas neighboring the site where environmental quality was impacted. Specialists include experts in fields such as science, technology, economics, sociology and law, who do not have an interest, and special inspectors hired by the competent department of environmental protection at any level.

Article 10: Before competent departments of environmental protection solicit public comments, they shall disclose background materials on the matter, as well as content such as on the necessity, feasibility and possible environmental impact; the start and end dates for solicitation of comments; the means for the public to submit to submit comments and appraisals; and the contact department and contact methods. The public should submit written appraisal comments within the time period by post, fax, email or other means.

Article 11: Where competent departments of environmental protection organize a questionnaire survey to solicit comments, they should introduce the basic situation and principle environmental impact of the matter, and the questions should be simple and clear, and easy to understand. The number and scope of survey subjects should be determined on the basis of a comprehensive consideration of the scope and extent of the environmental impact, the degree of social concern, the amount of personnel and material necessary to organize the public participation and relevant factors.

Article 12: Where competent departments of environmental protection convene symposia, they should inform all participants of the time, place, agenda, schedule and other such matters in advance, and when necessary, make a public announcement. The content to be discussed at symposia shall include the impact of projects and activities on the public's environmental interests, as well as countermeasures adopted by relevant departments. Persons attending symposia shall be primarily those with interests, but also invite relevant specialists to attend.

Article 13: Where competent departments of environmental protection convene evidentiary debate meetings to solicit comments, discussion should tightly rotate around core topics, and participants should primarily be relevant experts in fields such as sociology, economics and law; representatives of research institutions paying close attention to the project, and specialists from social environmental protection organizations; and representatives from directly affected unites and groups should be invited to participate.

Article 14: In any of the following circumstances, competent departments of environmental protection shall organize and convene a hearing to hear public comments:

(1) where laws, regulations or rules provide that there shall be a hearing;

(2) where a higher level people's governments requests that a hearing be organized;

(3) Others circumstances where the competent departments of environmental protection feel that a hearing shall be convened.

Hearings shall be conducted openly except where they touch on state secrets, commercial secrets or personal privacy. Official representatives to hearings are chosen randomly from those applying to participate in the hearing, and will be publicly announced on the participant name list. Hearings shall follow the principles of openness, fairness, impartiality, and convenience to the people.

Article 15: Where the public submits comments and suggestions on the work of competent departments of environmental protection, and clearly requests to be given a response, the competent department of environmental protection accepting it shall make an explanation and response within 15 working days of receiving it.

Competent departments of environmental protection shall place great importance on the public comments they collect, and organize them by type, analyze them, and disclose them with feedback in an appropriate manner, and use lawful and effective comments and suggestions as an important basis for decision-making.

Chapter III: Public Oversight

Article 16: Competent departments of environmental protection shall engage relevant experts, people's congress delegates, members of the political consultative conferences, members of democratic parties and persons without party affiliation, and representatives of environmental social organizations on environmental volunteers to serve as special inspectors, and conduct supervision of that department's and lower level competent department of environmental protection's work.

Article 17: Competent departments of environmental protection shall engage representatives of social environmental organizations and environmental volunteers to serve as supervisors, supervising the environmental protection actions and the environmental impact of construction projects by enterprises, public institutions and other production operations.

Article 18: Competent departments of environmental protection support public opinion supervision and social supervision on environmental protection matters.

Article 19: Where the public feels that relevant national organs, enterprises, public institutions or other production operations have violated environmental laws, regulations or rules, they may make a report to the competent department of environmental protection and relevant departments via channels such as post, fax, email, the 12369 environmental protection hotline, official websites, or the competent department of environmental protection's microblog platform.

Article 20: Competent departments of environmental protection receiving reports must keep the content of informants' reports and the informants' circumstances strictly confidential. Competent department of environmental protection should follow the relevant laws, regulations and rules to investigate and verify the facts in the report, and notify the informant of the outcome of the investigation and handling. When necessary, the outcomes of investigation and handling may be disclosed to the public.

Article 21: Competent departments of environmental protection that have capacity are encouraged to establish a special fund for rewarding informants. Where public reports prove true, an award may be given to the informing unit or individuals.

Article 22: Legally eligible social environmental organizations may raise environmental public interest litigation in the people's courts, in accordance with law, against conduct that pollutes the environment, damages the ecology, or harms the public interest.

Chapter IV: Safeguard Measures

Article 23: Competent departments of environmental protection shall strengthen publicity and education efforts within the scope of their duties, popularizing knowledge of environmental science, strengthening public environmental awareness, ecological awareness, conservation awareness, conscientiously practicing green lifestyles, green consumption, and forming low carbon, environmentally friendly social habits.

Article 24: competent department of environmental protection shall establish and complete mechanisms for public participation efforts, periodically conducting evaluation and appraisals of public participation efforts. Establish mechanisms for picking the most outstanding forms of public participation in environmental protection, and rewards may be given to units and individuals with outstanding achievements, creating an atmosphere of proactive, reasonable and orderly participation in environmental affairs.

Article 25: Competent departments of environmental protection cultivate and guide social environmental organizations in participating in activities and affairs beneficial to advancing public participation in environmental protection.

Article 26: Where environmental social organizations that meet the legally prescribed requirements apply for assistance from the competent department of environmental protection with oversight responsibility for the defendants' conduct during the course of raising environmental public interest litigation, that competent department of environmental protection shall facilitate within the scope of its obligations for disclosure of governmental information.

Chapter V: Supplementary Provisions

Article 27: Where laws and regulations or other department rules formulated by the Ministry of Environmental Protection otherwise provide for public participation in environmental protection, follow those provisions.

Article 28: These measures take effect on XX, 2015.

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