New environment ministry ‘lacks local powers’

China's environment watchdog will soon be upgraded to a government ministry, but the new institution will not have direct control over local environment agencies, a Beijing newspaper said on Thursday, giving power to local officials who are often focused on economic growth.
The promotion of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) to a full ministry will give the environment agency more weight in battles with polluters, the report said, but its new powers do not include direct control over local environmental officials.
"Vertical administration will not be implemented this year, and in the future that will be determined based on actual circumstances," the Beijing News quoted SEPA deputy chief Wu Xiaoqing as saying.