Govt slams SOE over pollution

By Liu Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2015-1-12 0:13:01

Lanzhou oil company admits ‘management deficiency’

A regional branch of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) in Lanzhou, Gansu Province admitted late Saturday its management lapses after it was criticized by the local authorities for failing to reduce pollutants.

The statement came after a Saturday announcement from the Lanzhou Environmental Protection Bureau criticizing the State-owned company and demanding an apology to the public.

"We have invested 1 billion yuan to improve our company's environmental protection facilities and have managed to significantly reduce the discharge of pollutants," read an official statement from CNPC's Lanzhou Petrochemical Company.

The company added that "as a large-scale petrochemical enterprise for almost 60 years, the baneful influence on the environment displayed the deficiency in management."

The company added that it welcomes the criticism and supervision, and will take responsibility to improve the environment and contribute to a better Lanzhou.

"The company, as the biggest State-owned enterprise in Lanzhou should not shirk its social responsibility and apologize to the public for deteriorating the environment," read the government announcement.

The announcement listed five pollution incidents traced to the company from August 2014, and the latest one happened on Thursday when its flare gas burned due to equipment failure and emitted dark smoke, exacerbating the local air quality. The company was slapped the maximum penalty of 300,000 yuan ($48,320) for its poor management and illegally transferring hazardous waste in December 2014.

"It is rare to see a local government criticize a State-owned enterprise like this, especially when the company was a major taxpayer," Ma Jun, director of the Beijing-based Institute for Public and Environmental Affairs, told the Global Times.

The Lanzhou Petrochemical Company claims on its website that it's the largest oil refining chemical firm in western China with a processing capacity of 10.5 million tons of crude oil and the production of 700,000 tons of ethylene a year.

Ma said that Lanzhou officials set a good example by bringing the government and public together to urge enterprises to take action to reduce environmental pollution by publicizing the information and protecting the public's right to know. "Greater public involvement means more pressure and stronger supervision over some enterprises."

A middle-level manager of the company responded that the government wanted to exert pressure on the company in the name of environmental protection to make it move to the Lanzhou New Area, a State-level zone planned to stimulate the western region, the China Business Journal reported. "It is impossible not to make any small mistakes in operating a big chemical enterprise," the manager argued.

"As a petrochemical enterprise, there is never a 'small mistake' in pollution control," Ma said.

Posted in: Environment

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