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September 27th, 2012:

Does new position turn the poacher into a gamekeeper?

Submitted by admin on Sep 27th 2012, 12:00am



Howard Winn   27 Sep 2012

A few eyebrows have been raised at Mike Kilburn’s decision to change jobs. It’s not so much because he is leaving the think tank Civic Exchange, where he was head of environmental strategy for four years, but because he has joined the Airport Authority. There have been murmurings about this being a case of “poacher turned gamekeeper”.

In his work for Civic Exchange, Kilburn says he always wrote from a perspective of neutrality, though elsewhere he has written some fairly trenchant articles. In CleanBiz Asia he wrote about the desire of green NGOs and the Legislative Council’s environmental panel for a “social return on investment” study on the third runway.

Kilburn highlighted the authority’s initial position, which was to do the legal minimum and carry out an environmental impact assessment. He described the authority’s stance as “out of touch”. People have observed that in offering him a job as senior manager environment, the authority has “taken out” a potentially influential critic.

But Kilburn assured Lai See that this was not the case. The position he applied for was established, he said, to help the airport to become the world’s greenest and to manage the sustainability reporting process. He says he won’t be working on the third runway project or be involved in the environmental impact assessment. He also says that after years of writing reports on what needed to be done, his new job is a chance to try to implement some of these ideas.

He believes the authority has a platform to do certain things that will have a positive effect on the city’s environment. “The fact that it has set itself the challenge of becoming the world’s greenest airport creates a driver for change which I am eager to make the best of,” he said.

There were similarities between doing policy research and sustainability reporting in that each involved trying to change prevailing mindsets, he added. “The corporate world in general has a great part to play in improving the overall sustainability in Hong Kong. I certainly do not think that the green groups are the only place … where you can try to be influential.” He sees it as a different platform to work on the same issue.

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Mike Kilburn

Environmental Impact Assessment

Airport Authority

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Sinopec closes three petroleum plants after pollution exposed on state TV

Submitted by admin on Sep 27th 2012, 12:00am



Li Jing

Sinopec shuts down production at three plants in Guangdong after company is shown being dressed down over emission violations

Petrochemical giant Sinopec has suspended production at three subsidiaries in Guangdong after a state television exposé showed the company being scolded in an internal meeting over severe environmental pollution breaches.

In rare coverage by state television, CCTV broadcast footage yesterday showing inspectors from the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Guangdong’s provincial environmental protection bureau berating the company for repeated regulatory violations.

Zhou Quan , director of the bureau’s inspection office, pounded a table and shouted: “This is a blatant [violation]. And no one supervised [the companies] and asked them to correct [their wrongdoings] even though it was crystal clear that their pollution emissions were beyond national standards.

“Even so, [the companies] are still bullying local governments all the time, claiming [their operation] is important for the national economy and people’s livelihood. Then what about the livelihood of local people?”

CCTV reported that Zhanjiang Dongxing Refinery, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed China Petroleum & Chemical – Sinopec – dumped toxic sewage in rainwater drains without proper treatment. The plant was also found to have resumed operation without approval after being ordered to shut down in May for failing to relocate residents.

Another subsidiary, Sinopec Guangzhou Petrochemical, illegally stored a large amount of liquid in two tanks designed for emergency use only, posing high environmental risks.

And Xinzhongmei Chemical Industrial, a joint venture in Zhanjiang partially controlled by Sinopec, tried to dilute its waste with tap water before dumping it. CCTV reported that Mo Zhi , the company’s general manager, described the pungent odour from drainage pipes as “cooking smells” in an attempt to cover up the illegal handling of the waste.

Sinopec said it had ordered the three plants to suspend production and sent a team to investigate. “[We will] severely deal with those who are responsible and the subsidiary management according to the results of the investigation,” the company said.

Greenpeace China campaigner Ma Tianjie said illegal dumping through drains was normal practice on the mainland for many factories.

“But it is extremely irresponsible for petrochemical companies to do so because their waste is highly toxic,” he said.

In recent years, plans for petrochemical projects have met with strong opposition from people living nearby, leading to massive demonstrations in a number of mainland cities, including Dalian in Liaoning and Xiamen in Fujian .

Environmentalists said the CCTV exposé revealed an inconvenient truth, with powerful state-owned enterprises frequently escaping supervision because the local environmental watchdogs were too lax.

CCTV showed Zhang Zhimin , from the environment ministry, who headed the inspection team, asking: “Why, in their previous visits, did local environmental authorities fail to find out the problems and risks in the three plants?”



petroleum plants


Source URL (retrieved on Sep 27th 2012, 5:33am):