China Orders Closure of 12 Plants for Pollution
The State Environmental Protection Administration said on its Web site (www.sepa.gov.cn) that the plants represented combined investment of 2 billion yuan (US$258 million).
They include a metallurgy company in Inner Mongolia, four steel makers in Jiangsu and Hebei and a charcoal plant in Shandong.
"Projects that seriously violate the state's industrial policies and environmental protection thresholds must be immediately and permanently closed down," SEPA vice head Pan Yue was quoted as saying.
The agency has been striving to extend its influence in the face of opposition from local authorities that frequently put growth before the environment.
SEPA said on Monday that China fell short of its goal for 2006 to reduce emissions of pollutants by 2 percent from 2005 levels.
China has set a goal of reducing emissions of pollutants by 10 percent between 2006 and 2010.
To that end, the government would withhold approval of projects that produce a lot of pollution in those provinces that have failed to meet Beijing's emission targets, the agency said.
China last year also missed its goal of cutting by 4 percent the amount of energy it uses to generate a unit of output.
Sources told Reuters last week that China achieved only a 1.0-1.5 percent reduction in that measure of "energy intensity" in 2006.