Tips For New Legislations in Nov. 2016
For the Soil Pollution Prevention and Control，the First Local Regulation Was Issued
——The Interpretation of the Latest Regulations of Hubei Municipality on the Prevention and Control of Soil Pollution
Notes by EHS.CN
On May 28, 2016, the State Council issued the Action Plan for Soil Pollution Prevention and Control (short for "ten soil rules'), which could be seemed as a milestone in the cause of soil restoration. The Regulations of Hubei Municipality on the Prevention and Control of Soil Pollution coming into force on October 1, 2016, is the first local regulation regarding to soil pollution prevention and control, which fills the gap in the history of legislation
What new change will be brought by the Regulations? And what trend does it represent? The followings are the interpretations.
Focus one: the catalogue of soil pollution industries with high risks
Article 19 The competent department of environment protection of the provincial people's government shall draw up the catalogue of soil pollution industries with high risks in accordance with the survey results of soil environmental quality, and timely update and disclose it. The catalogue of soil pollution industries with high risks shall include metal, leather, petroleum, mining, coal, coking, chemical industry, medicine, lead-acid batteries and electroplating. The competent department of environment protection of people's government at and above the county level shall promulgate the catalogue of soil pollution industries with high risks, monitoring, controlling, supervising and inspecting their treatment of waste water, waste gas and solid waste and the soil environment on the land they use and surrounding areas, and uploading the monitoring and controlling data to the Information Management Platform of Soil Environment.
Soil pollution industries with high risks shall carry out the monitoring over the soil environment on the land and the surrounding areas at least annually pursuant to rules and monitoring standards made by competent departments of environment protection, and the monitoring results shall be reported to the local competent department of environment protection at the county level for the record. Promote the liability insurance system of soil pollution that shall be implemented within soil pollution industries with high risks according to national regulations.
Article 20 Implement the evaluation system of clean production for key industries. The competent department of environment protection of the people's government at and above the county level shall jointly with the department of development and reform and the department of economy and information technology carry out the compulsory review of clean production over soil pollution industries with high risks.
Article 22 Design the protective facilities against soil pollutions of a construction project, construct them and put to use at the same time as the main body of the project. Protective facilities against soil protection shall satisfy the requirements of the approved environmental impact assessment documents and shall not be removed or left unused without authorization.
Article 30 People's governments at all levels, relevant departments and enterprises where soil pollution accidents may occur, shall draw up the emergency response plan for soil pollution accidents, carry out the drill regularly and well prepare for the emergency.
Notes by EHS.CN
Once be classed as the soil pollution industry with high risks:
Carry out regular inspection over the soil environment on the land and the surrounding areas, pay the compulsory environmental liability insurance, go through the compulsory review of clean production, “three simultaneousness” for the protective facilities against soil pollution, draw up the emergency response plan and carry out regular drills ……
If your enterprise just belongs to this kind of enterprise with high risks, EHS personnel, what will you do?
Focus two: treatment for the soil pollution
Article 32 The competent department of environment protection of people's government at and above the county level shall organize the risk evaluation of the soil environment over the contaminated lands, ……, and the units and persons that pollute the lands shall be responsible for the controlling and the restoration of the contaminated land. Where the liable subject cannot be defined, people's government at and above the county level shall be responsible for the controlling and the restoration of soil pollution.
Article 33 The liable persons of controlling soil pollutions and restoring shall draw up the controlling plan for the soil pollutions or the restoration plan according to the situation of the risks evaluation, and carry out the controlling or the restoration after getting the approval from the competent department of environment protection of people's government at and above the county level.
Article 35 The people's government at and above the county level shall organize relevant departments, including the environmental protection department, the agricultural department, the department of housing and urban-rural development, the department of land and resources, the department of economy and information technology and the health department, to investigate the soil pollution situation over the land where the plant has been relocated or closed, grasp the characteristics of pollutants, the emission way, the diffusion path and the sensitive target, establish the list of potential contaminated land where the plant has been relocated or closed, and update in a timely manner.
Notes by EHS.CN
When enterprises with soil environmental pollutions relocates or closes, it does not mean their corresponding legal responsibility is not fully performed. Who pollutes, who controls. If the pollution treatment fails to meet the standards, the liability will always exist. Then the tragedy like the toxic land in Changzhou Foreign Languages School will not happen again.
Focus three: information disclosure, social participation; put the soil protection actions into the credit file of environmental protection
Article 50 The competent department of environment protection of people's government at and above the county level shall disclose the units' names, persons' names and contaminated situation of the heavily contaminated land to the public in a timely manner. Soil pollution industry with high risks shall disclose relevant information to the public accurately, including the heavy metal, the name of the persistent organic pollutants, the way of emission, the concentration of the emission, the total amount of the emission, and the development and running situation of the facilities against pollutions, and accept social supervision.
Article 51 Any unit or person has the right to propose comments and suggestions on the decision-making activities of soil protection. Except the case of confidentiality required according to laws, the establishment of soil environmental protection standards, the drawing-up of the plan, the review and approval of the project, the assessment of environmental impact, the pollution controlling plan and the restoration program that are closely related to public soil environmental interests shall be disclosed to the public, and the public that may be influenced shall be informed and explained through hearing, demonstration meeting or forums, and public opinions shall be fully solicited.
Article 52 The competent department of environment protection of people's government at and above the county level shall classify the situations that how producers and operators are in compliance with the environmental protection laws and regulations and how they shoulder the social responsibility of environmental protection, and record that into the credit file of environmental protection. The credit file of environmental protection shall be disclosed to the public, which will be important basis for the financial support, government procurement, bank loan, foreign trade and export, corporate credit, listing and financing and the identification of famous trademark and brand.
Article 53 Any unit and person has the right to report the offense of polluting soil environment or failing to fulfill the obligations of controlling, preventing, supervising and managing soil pollutions pursuant to laws.
Article 55 Encourage the social organizations satisfying requirements to institute a proceeding for common good pursuant to laws against environmental illegal acts including seriously polluting the soil environment, destroying the ecology, harming to the public health and public interest.
Notes by EHS.CN
Once the producing and business entities are listed into the credit file of environmental protection for they have illegal actions against soil environmental protection, they will be subject to restrictions over the financial support, government procurement, bank loan, foreign trade and export, corporate credit, listing and financing and the identification of famous trademark and brand, and even be unable to move even a single step.
For the person-in-charge of producing and business entities and EHS personnel, they will face various limitations and the joint disciplinary actions. For more details, please refer to the bilingual interpretation the Memorandum of Understanding on Taking Joint Disciplinary Actions against Dishonest Production and Operation Entities and Relevant Persons in the Field of Environmental Protection. (http://www.ehs.cn/article-19506-1.html)
Focus four: consecutive penalty by day
Article 59 The soil pollution industry with high risks fails to monitor the soil environment on the land and its surrounding areas according to regulations …… fails to disclose information to the public according to regulations
Article 60 The main body of the project is put to use or production before the protective facilities against soil pollution for constructing projects are built, or the protective facilities against soil pollution are removed or left unused after being built……
Article 62 The liable persons of controlling and restoring fail to carry out the controlling of soil pollution or the restoration according to regulations……
Article 64 Where the institutions and other producers and operators that illegally discharge pollutants and thus are fined are ordered to make corrections but they refuse to do so, the competent department of environmental protection may, as of the following date after the order of making corrections, impose consecutive punishment by day based on the original fines, and the main person-in-charge of the unit discharging pollutants shall be fined not less than RMB ￥50,000 but not more than RMB ￥100,000; if the circumstance is serious, report shall be made to the people's government with approval authority for approval and the relevant entity shall be ordered to suspend production and be shut down.
Conclusion by EHS.CN
The soil pollution has the characteristics of accumulation, inhomogeneous, difficult reversibility, concealment and hysteresis quality, which decides that the difficulty of its treatment is greater than that of other pollutions.
《条例》是湖北省的尝试，是全国第一例，但却代表了国家层面、各省级政府部门在土壤污染防治方面的态度和意向!《条例》对土壤污染防治的要求更为具体，更具操作性。即便不是湖北省的企业也不妨尝试借鉴。至于其他省份是否跟进、进度如何，我们将密切关注并及时为大家分享。This Regulation is an attempt by the Hubei Province and the first example in our country, but it represents the attitude and trend of national and provincial governmental departments over the soil pollution prevention and controlling. The requirements for soil pollution prevention and controlling stated in this Regulation are more specific and practical. Enterprises outside the Hubei Province can refer to it. Whether other provinces will follow or not, we will pay closed attention to it and share with everyone timely.