China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Official: Too Early to Blame CNPC for Pollution

It is still too early to say whether China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) should be penalized for water pollution and the chemical plant explosion in northeast provinces, said the director of China's work safety watchdog Friday.

Li Yizhong, director of the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS)said at a press conference that the investigation organized by the State Council is still probing the cause of the accident.

A blast took place on Nov.13 in a chemical plant which is a subsidiary of CNPC in northeast China's Jilin Province. It later spilled large amounts of benzene into the Songhua River, causing a four-day water stoppage in the downstream city of Harbin, capital of neighboring Heilongjiang province.

When the causes for the accident are confirmed, all people directly or indirectly responsible for it should be punished according to the law, said Li, head of the investigation team.

According to a preliminary probe, the accident was caused by operations failure and it was categorized as a work safety accident, he said.

A supervision team sent by SAWS is checking safety conditions in chemical factories along rivers, lakes and seas of the country, mainly in East China's Jiangsu Province, he said.

At an emergency conference held by SAWS ordered 18 major chemical enterprises to check their safety provisions and emergency procedures.

(Source: Xinhua)

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