The Implementation Plan for the Permit System for Controlling Pollutants Emission (hereinafter referred to as the Implementation Plan) was issued by the General Office of the State Council on November 10, 2016, and came into force on the same day. The Implementation Plan has redefined the "pollutant discharge permit system" which will be implemented in the coming future. Meanwhile, it is the extension and refinement of requirements for pollutant discharge permit and total quantity control stipulated in the Article 42 of the Environmental Protection Law.
i. Basic principles of the Permit System for Controlling Pollutants Emission
The Implementation Plan has proposed the following principles, which has been embodied in the regulations and rules issued recently. Since the middle of 2016, there have been many cases of environmental protection supervision and inspection, which have reflected the guiding thought of the Implementation Plan. For the focuses of its guiding principles for the enterprise, we extract the original text as followed.
The emission permit system shall connect with the environmental impact assessment administration system, and merge with the total quantity control system, so as to provide unified pollutants emission data for the work such as collection of pollution discharge fee, environment statistics and trading in the right to pollutants emission ……
Fairness and impartiality, and one permit for one enterprise. ……Emission permits shall be issued to enterprises and public institutions as the sole administrative licensing of the pollutants emission in manufacturing and operating period, and, in respect of such pollutants emission, the requirement for environment management they ought to observe in accordance with the law and the legal liability they ought to undertake shall be specified.
Pollutant discharge permits shall be the major legal instruments by which enterprises and public institutions accept environment supervision in manufacturing and operating period, and the environmental protection departments implement supervision. Enterprises and public institutions shall apply for and obtain emission permits in accordance with the law, emit pollutants according to the permits, and prove the observation of the law by themselves.
The whole process of application for, issuance and supervision of emission permits shall be disclosed……
The above mentioned principles have clearly described a blueprint for us, and the importance of future licenses is beyond doubt.What will the process of implementation be like? What are the future impacts on the enterprises? Hereby we select some terms that are closely related to the enterprises who shall put into investments to complete relevant works as references for the future implementation.
ii. Regulations about the issuance and management of permits stipulated in the Implementation Plan
Draw up a management list of pollutant discharge permits. The Ministry of Environmental Protection shall formulate and publish the classified management list of pollutant discharge permits according to law. 【Note 1】
Regulate the approval and the issuance of pollutant discharge permits. The pollutant discharge permits shall be approved and issued by environmental protection authorities at or above the county level. Where other provisions have been issued on local regulations, those provisions shall prevail. 【Note 2】
Reasonably determine the contents of permits. The types of pollutants, its concentration, its quantity of emission and the emission's direction and destination shall be clearly stated on the pollutant discharge permit, as well as including the pollution control facilities and environmental management requirements.
Achieve the full coverage of pollutant discharge permits step by step. The pollutant discharge permits shall cover the waste gas, wastewater and gradually incorporate other pollutants in accordance with laws...theapproval and the issuance of pollutant discharge permit all over the country will have been completed until 2020.
Implement the duty of discharging pollutants according to the permits. All enterprises and institutions incorporated into the administration of pollutant discharge permit shall discharge pollutants with permit on schedule, discharge pollutants according to the permit and shall not discharge pollutants without permit. Enterprises and institutions shall apply for the pollutant discharge permit in a timely manner, and bear the legal responsibility for the authenticity, accuracy and integrity of the application materials.
Carry out the self-monitoring and regular report. Enterprises and institutions shall carry out the self-monitoring in accordance with laws……Enterprises and institutions shall truthfully report the implementation of the pollutant discharge permit to the environmental protection departments ...... If the discharge situation does not conform to the requirements of the pollution discharge permit, it shall be reported to the environmental protection department in a timely manner. 【Note 3】