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China approves projects suspended a month ago for failing green criteria
BEIJING (AFP) Feb 20, 2005
China has approved the resumption of 26 out of the 30 large construction projects that were suspended a month ago for failing to get environmental approval before they started, state media said Sunday.

The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) said the 26 projects have passed environmental impact assessments, but four projects remain suspended until impact reports have been approved, Xinhua news agency reported.

The four projects are the five-billion-dollar Xiluodu hydropower plant on the Yangtze River in southwest China, two power plants at the Three Gorges project and another power plant in northern China's Inner Mongolia.

SEPA ordered a halt to 30 large-scale construction projects nationwide on January 18 for failing to file environmental impact statements.

The crackdown was seen as a major effort by SEPA to increase its power and end an era of lax environmental regulation during 25 years of spectacular economic growth.

The agency has also threatened to shut down scores of coal-fired power plants whose emissions do not comply with air quality requirements.

The crackdown has emerged as the central government tries to rein in growth and curb investment, especially in the power sector.

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