On January 16, 2009, the Ministry of Environmental Protection ("MEP") released Provisions on Construction Projects Environmental Impact Assessment ("EIA") Approval (the "New Provisions"), effective March 1, 2009, which supersede the previous provisions promulgated by the State Environmental Protection Administration in 2002. According to the New Provisions, EIA approval authority is delegated to provincial MEP counterparts for all projects previously requiring MEP approval, except for nuclear or highly-confidential projects, trans-provincial projects, and projects approved at the State Council level, all of which are still subject to MEP's approval. Certain projects concerning chemistry, paper-making, and electroplating, among other things, may be approved by MEP counterparts at either the provincial level or the municipal level. MEP's delegation of EIA approval authority may help reduce the time for EIA examination and approval.
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