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Protests push China city to reveal refinery report

Updated at: 06/02/2013 6:35 AM
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(AP) BEIJING - Officials in a southwest Chinese city have decided to make an environmental assessment of a planned refinery public following protests by residents over pollution fears, state media reported Sunday.

Hundreds of people rallied in Kunming city in Yunnan province in mid-May over the refinery planned by powerful state company PetroChina.

The official Xinhua News Agency quoted the city’s mayor, Li Wenrong, as saying Sunday that details of the environmental evaluation report would be released to the public. Li said the city government will listen to comments and suggestions from residents.

"Supervision will not be missing just because the operator is a major state-owned enterprise," Li told a news conference, according to Xinhua.

Officials had previously said the refinery would meet environmental standards but that the environmental impact assessment would remain confidential, aggravating a public already upset with a lack of information about the project.

Members of China’s public, especially among the rising middle class, have become increasingly outspoken against environmentally risky factories, in reaction to a decade of development-at-all-costs policies that have polluted the country’s air and waterways.

However, they have virtually no say on industrial projects, and have instead turned to organizing protests.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)