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Gov`t to Ease Environmental Regulations

Posted March. 22, 2008 06:38,   


Regulations restricting factory expansions in areas near water sources including Paldang will be eased.

Moreover, greenhouse gas emissions targets will stay at the level of 2005 (591 million tons) until 2012.

The Environment Ministry submitted these plans to President Lee Myung-bak at the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology on Mar. 21.

Now factories cannot be built within 20 kilometers from upstream water supply sources. But the ministry plans to reduce the distance to seven kilometers, as long as waste water is not discharged.

One ministry official said, “Many people have complained that they don’t understand why they can’t build a factory near the Lake Paldang, while it is ok to construct a building. The ministry plans to revise guidelines regarding industrial zoning by September and implement them immediately.”

And by the end of the year, the ministry also plans to reduce the period to assess the environmental impact arising from the construction of a golf course, a tourist zone or an industry complex by establishing an environment impact assessment law.

The Environment Ministry reported that it would create 350,000 jobs by supporting the environmental industry, allow the selling of bottled tap water, create an eco-peace park near the DMZ, and expand the domestic carbon market to one trillion won.

President Lee said, “It is time to start to cooperate gradually with the North in the sphere of reforestation.”

“If we work with North Korea, this project will contribute to our unification efforts and the preservation of our land. It will also add value to our nation’s environment. The Environment Ministry ought to coordinate with the Unification Ministry on this project,” Lee said in the meeting.

“With a budget allocated to the Environment Ministry and the Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs Ministry, we can make Korea’s four big rivers the cleanest. As the budget of the two ministries amounts to two trillion won, I want them to study how to better preserve rivers,” he added.