Ahead of Saturday’s deadline for applications, more than 10 legal-advisory agencies have shown interest in handling a potential lawsuit against the US-based oil company ConocoPhillips over environmental damage from spills in Bohai Bay, China Daily cited maritime authorities as saying. The State Oceanic Administration said spills originating from two oil platforms belonging to ConocoPhillips China have contaminated the marine ecosystem.
ConocoPhillips China has resumed operations at some wells ordered to shut down in July, according to China.org. The leaks at the Penglai 19-3 oilfield, first reported as spills in June, have polluted 3,400 square kilometres of the bay and spread to beaches in north-eastern Hebei and Liaoning provinces. ConocoPhillips has been told to stop the leaks and to clean up oil-based mud on the seabed by the end of August.
Amid public anger over the pollution, a Chinese lawyer filed a private lawsuit against ConocoPhillips and the state energy giant CNOOC, Agence France-Presse reported state media as saying. As well as seeking an immediate end to the leaks and clean-up of the pollution, Jia Fangyi’s action urged the companies to set up a 10-billion-yuan (US$1.6-billion) fund to pay for damages and restore the ecological system, the Beijing Times said.
A petrochemical plant in Dalian, Liaoning province — ordered to close after large-scale public protests — has begun shutting down, Reuters quoted state media as saying. Closure of the Dalian Fujia Petrochemical Company facility was ordered on August 13 after thousands of local residents demonstrated, demanding relocation of the factory at the centre of a toxic-spill scare.
Local people living near the plant became concerned after a storm ruptured the dyke around the facility, sparking fears that the paraxylene (PX) it produces could spill, the BBC said. The dyke was repaired and no leak occurred. PX is used in fabric manufacture and can be highly toxic.
China’s environmental protection ministry sent investigators to Yunnan province to probe the pollution of a reservoir in Yuezhen and the Nanpan River, which feeds into the Pearl River, according to China Daily. Production has been suspended at the Luliang Chemical Industry Company, which was held responsible for the illegal dumping of tonnes of chromium-contaminated waste that rain washed into local water supplies in June. Two truck drivers were arrested, China Daily reported earlier.
China will strengthen its monitoring for radioactive substances in the waters near Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant and in the East China Sea, China Daily said. Scientists hope to be able to forecast what effect radiation released by the facility – as from cesium and strontium — will have on the marine environment and seafood safety.
A massive fish kill occurred in the Fuhe River in Nanchang, Jiangxi province, after two temporary barrages were built in the river channel to facilitate construction of a bridge, Caijing.com reported. The fish perished in the warm, stagnant water.
Prepared in cooperation with PACE