Deepening the Environmental Monitoring Reform and Improving Environmental Monitoring Data Quality

 2018-06-30  8

  • Area of Law Environmental Protection
  • Level of Authority Group Provisions
  • Date issued09-21-2017
  • Effective Date09-21-2017
  • Status Effective
  • Issuing Authority General Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (General Office, CCCPC) General Office of the State Council

The General Office of the CPC Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council Issuing the Opinions on Deepening the Environmental Monitoring Reform and Improving Environmental Monitoring Data Quality
(September 21, 2017)
Xinhua News Agency (Beijing, September 21) The General Office of the CPC Central Committee and the Opinions on Deepening the Environmental Monitoring Reform and Improving Environmental Monitoring Data Quality and gave notice, requiring all regions and all departments to conscientiously implement these Opinions based on the actual circumstances.
The Opinions on Deepening the Environmental Monitoring Reform and Improving Environmental Monitoring Data Quality are as follows.
Environmental monitoring is the foundation of environmental protection and major support for advancement of the building of ecological civilization. Environmental monitoring data is the fundamental basis to objectively assess environmental quality, reflect the achievements in pollution treatment, administer the environment and make decisions. The occasional intervention of local governments in environmental monitoring, inconsistency between the environmental monitoring data of relevant departments, fabrication of monitoring data by pollutant discharge entities despite being banned frequently, and diverse service levels of environmental monitoring bodies have caused prominent problems in environmental monitoring data quality and restrained the rising of the level of environmental administration. The following opinions are hereby offered for purposes of practically improving environmental monitoring data quality.
I. General requirements
(1) Guiding ideology. We shall comprehensively implement the spirit of the 18th CPC National Congress and the Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Plenary Sessions of the 18th CPC Central Committee, carry out in depth the spirit of a series of important speeches and new concepts, thoughts and strategies of managing state affairs of General Secretary Xi Jinping, center on the all-around advance of the overall layout for "economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological progress" and coordinated advancement of the Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy, firmly develop and implement the new development concept, conscientiously implement the decisions and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, based on the demand of ecological and environmental protection in China, adhere to legal, scientific and bona fide monitoring, deepen the environmental monitoring reform, establish a responsibility system, innovate on the administration system, enhance regulatory capability, seriously investigate and deal with fabrication in accordance with the laws and regulations, practically guarantee environmental monitoring data quality, boost the credibility and authority of environmental monitoring data, and promote the comprehensive lifting of the level of environmental administration.
(2) Basic principles
-- Innovating on mechanisms and improving legislations. The environmental monitoring quality assurance mechanism shall be reformed, the environmental monitoring quality administration system shall be improved, and environmental monitoring laws, regulations, standards and specifications shall be bettered.
-- Taking diverse measures for comprehensive prevention. Legal, economic, technical and necessary administrative means shall be comprehensively used to prevent improper intervention, regulate monitoring, strengthen departmental cooperation, advance information disclosure, and join policy and measure forces.
-- Specifying responsibility and enhancing regulation. The responsibilities of local party committees and governments, relevant departments, pollutant discharge entities and environmental monitoring bodies shall be specified, and fabrication shall be better investigated and dealt with, in order to ensure strict accountability and post a gesture of strong hand and deterrence.
(3) Main objectives. By 2020, by deepening the reform, an environmental monitoring data quality assurance responsibility system will have been comprehensively developed, the environmental monitoring quality administration system will have been improved, and an environmental monitoring data fabrication prevention and punishment mechanism will have been established, so as to ensure that environmental monitoring bodies and personnel independently and impartially conduct their work and that environmental monitoring data is comprehensive, accurate, objective and authentic.
II. Firmly preventing the improper intervention of local governments and departments
(4) Specifying leading responsibility and regulatory responsibility. Local party committees and governments at all levels shall establish and improve a responsibility system and working mechanism to prevent and punish fabrication of environmental monitoring data and assume leading responsibility for prevention and punishment of the fabrication. The Ministry of Environmental Protection and provincial environmental protection departments may publicly interview the persons in charge of the governments of cities (prefectures, autonomous prefectures, and leagues) with prominent fabrication problems and order local governments to conduct investigation and take corrective measures. Provincial environmental protection departments shall offer proposals for action against the relevant persons in charge of the governments of cities (prefectures, autonomous prefectures, and leagues) interviewed by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, hand them over to local party committees and governments for handling by the discipline and law, and report the handling results in writing to the Ministry of Environmental Protection and provincial party committees and governments.
Environmental protection departments and quality and technology supervision departments at all levels shall be legally responsible for the regulation of environmental monitoring bodies, and other relevant departments shall strengthen administration of data quality of environmental monitoring bodies affiliated to them. When discovering harboring relating to, conniving at or ineffective regulation of fabrication, or any other failure to perform duties by law, all related departments shall, as required, transfer clues to the violation of regulations by directly liable persons in charge and other liable persons to relevant departments and have them held liable by discipline and law.
(5) Enhancing prevention and punishment. Measures for administration of prevention and punishment of the intervention of leaders in environmental monitoring shall be researched and developed, circumstance determination shall be specified, investigation and tackling procedures shall be regulated, tackling regulations shall be detailed, and the problem that local party and government leaders and employees of relevant departments take advantage of their jobs to instigate tampering with or fabrication of environmental monitoring data, or to limit or obstruct regulatory law enforcement relating to environmental monitoring data quality, or to influence or interfere with the investigation of and accountability for fabrication of environmental monitoring data, or to assign environmental monitoring bodies or personnel appraisal objectives or tasks of environmental quality improvement shall be solved in priority.
(6) Keeping intervention traces and records. The responsibility and duties of environmental monitoring bodies and personnel to keep records shall be specified, matters for and means of records shall be regulated, and the instructions, letters, viva voce opinions, implications or other information from party and government leaders and employees of relevant departments to intervene in environmental monitoring shall be traceable for the whole process, collected by law, stored, and archived for investigation. Relevant persons who causes serious consequences by unfaithfully recording or concealing improper intervention shall be given notice of criticism and a warning.
III. Vigorously advancing departmental cooperation in environmental monitoring
(7) Legally unifying monitoring standards and specifications and information publication. The Ministry of Environmental Protection shall develop unified national environmental monitoring specifications by law, accelerate the improvement of standards for and specifications of environmental quality monitoring relating to atmosphere, water, soil and other factors and the autonomous motoring by pollutant discharge entities, and better the national environmental monitoring reading traceability system. A national environmental quality monitoring network covering China's land, ocean and islands shall be established in conjunction with relevant departments. Environmental monitoring bodies of different kinds at all levels and pollutant discharge entities shall conduct monitoring activities according to unified environmental monitoring standards and specifications and practically solve the problem of inconsistency and non-comparability of environmental monitoring data of the same kind but from different departments.
Environmental protection departments shall uniformly publish environmental quality and other major environmental information. Other relevant departments which publish information involving environmental quality shall reach an agreement with the environmental protection departments at the same level or use environmental quality information which environmental protection departments have published by law.
(8) Improving the administrative law enforcement and criminal justice connection mechanism. In a case of tampering with or fabricating environmental monitoring data confirmed by it, the environmental protection department shall, if the offender is inadequate to be criminally punishable, punish him under relevant laws and regulations and, in addition, transfer him by law to the public security department for detention, or, if he is criminally punishable, make suspected criminal case transfer statements, an investigation report, crime scene investigation transcripts, case-related article list, and other evidential materials, transfer the case to the public security department at the same level without delay, and forward a copy of suspected criminal case transfer statements to the procuratorial department at the same level. The public security department shall accept the case by law and notify the environmental protection department in writing within a specific period whether or not to docket the case. The procuratorial department shall fulfill the duty legal supervision by law. The environmental protection department shall share the notifications of conditions of pollutants discharged by enterprises beyond standards, environmental law enforcement supervision reports and other information resources with the procuratorial department and the public security department.
IV. Strictly regulating the monitoring activities of pollutant discharge entities
(9) Implementing the primary responsibility for autonomous monitoring data quality. Pollutant discharge entities shall conduct autonomous monitoring according to the laws, regulations, and relevant monitoring standards and specifications, develop monitoring plans, preserve complete original records and monitoring reports, be responsible for data authenticity, and publish relevant monitoring information as required. Environmental protection departments shall punish by day, successively, entities which illegally discharge pollutants by tampering with or fabricating monitoring data or otherwise dodging regulation.
(10) Specifying requirements for automatic monitoring of pollution sources. A key pollutant discharge entity autonomous monitoring and environmental quality monitoring original data comprehensive direct uploading and reporting system shall be established. Key pollutant discharge entities shall legally install and use automatic pollution source monitoring equipment, make regular examination or calibration to ensure its normal operation, and publish automatic monitoring results. The national networking of automatic monitoring data shall be gradually realized. Video surveillance facilities shall be installed at pollution treatment facilities, monitoring stations, discharge exits and other locations and connected to the network of local environmental protection departments. The validity review for which environmental protection departments are responsible shall be canceled. When manually comparing automatic pollution source monitoring alone, key pollutant discharge entities shall handle abnormal situations in a timely manner to ensure the integrity and validity of monitoring data. Automatic monitoring data may be used as the basis of regulatory law enforcement such as environmental administrative punishment.
V. Accurately determining the responsibility of environmental monitoring bodies for data quality.
(11) Establishing a responsibility traceability system in which "who publishes readings is responsible, and who signs is responsible." Environmental monitoring bodies and the persons in charge thereof shall be responsible for the authenticity and accuracy of their monitoring data. Persons who take samples and conduct analyses, or who conduct review and grant authorization by signing shall assume lifelong responsibility for the authenticity of original monitoring data and monitoring reports. Persons who conduct operations in violation of the laws and regulations or directly tamper with or fabricate monitoring data shall be held responsible by discipline and law.
(12) Implementing the environmental monitoring quality administration system. Environmental monitoring bodies shall obtain inspection and testing body qualification certifications by law. A quality administration system covering the whole process from station distribution, sampling, on-site testing, sample making, analysis testing, data transmission, assessment, to compilation of comprehensive analysis report shall be established. Instruments and equipment specially used for online automatic monitoring and surveillance shall conform to standards and specifications relating to environmental protection. Reference materials to be used shall be certified or traceable.
VI. Severely punishing fabrication of environmental monitoring data
(13) Seriously investigating and dealing with fabrication by monitoring bodies and personnel. Environmental protection departments and quality and technology supervision departments shall inspect environmental monitoring bodies by the principle of randomly selected entities by randomly selected inspectors and enhance interim and ex-post regulation. An environmental monitoring body or person that conducts or participates in fabrication shall be punished by the environmental protection department, the quality and technology supervision department, and the public security department; or, if suspected of crime, be handed over to the judiciary, and relevant person liable shall be prosecuted. A person maintaining and operating environmental monitoring facilities who performs or participates in such act as tampering with or fabricating automatic monitoring data, disrupting automatic monitoring facilities, and damaging environmental quality monitoring systems shall be more heavily punished by law.
An environmental monitoring body that conducts fabrication in providing environmental services and is responsible for environmental pollution and ecological damage that result shall be punished by law, and, in addition, a procuratorial department, a social organization or any other department specified by law, in filing civil public interest litigation, or an administrative department authorized by the provincial government, in instituting action for reparation for damage to the eco-environment, may require the environmental monitoring body and responsible persons causing environmental pollution and ecological damage to bear joint and several liability.
(14) Severely cracking down upon fabrication by pollutant discharge entities. A pollutant discharge entity fabricating monitoring data shall be punished by the environmental protection department and the public security department by law; if suspected of crime, it shall be handed over to the judiciary which shall hold directly responsible persons in charge and other responsible persons criminally liable and fine the entity; and the legal representative of a pollutant discharge entity who orders, instigates, suggests and acquiesces in fabrication of monitoring data shall be held liable by discipline and law.
(15) Advancing joint punishment. Environmental protection departments at all levels shall publish the information of enterprises, bodies and persons that have been punished by law due to fabrication of environmental monitoring data, include it by law in the national credit information sharing platform and, in the case of enterprises, the national enterprise credit information publication system, and realize restriction everywhere for violation of the law in one place.
(16) Strengthening social supervision. Publicity and education shall be extensively given, public participation shall be encouraged, the report system shall be improved, and the supervision and report of fabrication of environmental monitoring data in the scope of report acceptance of 12369 environmental protection and 12365 quality and technology supervision. The role of environmental monitoring industry associations shall be fully used to promote industrial self-discipline.
VII. Improving the capability of environmental monitoring quality regulation more quickly
(17) Improving regulations and systems. An environmental monitoring regulation shall be researched and developed, and fabrication of environmental monitoring data shall be better punished. Misappropriation, destruction, unauthorized relocation and change of environmental quality monitoring equipment or automatic pollutant discharge monitoring equipment shall be punished by law. Measures for interaction between environmental monitoring and law enforcement, measures for the regulation of environmental monitoring bodies and other regulations and systems shall be developed. An environmental monitoring data fabricating person practice ban system shall be explored and established. A pollutant discharge entity adducing data authenticity evidence system shall be researched and established. The standardization of collection, transmission and storage of monitoring data shall be advanced.
(18) Improving the quality administration system. National environmental monitoring reading traceability and transmission laboratories, pollutant measurement and physical standard laboratories, environmental monitoring standard and specification verification laboratories, and special instrument and equipment applicability testing laboratories shall be established based on existing resources to raise the level of national environmental monitoring quality control. Regional capability to control and administer environmental monitoring quality shall be improved, and in regions such as north, northeast, northwest, east, south and southwest China, provincial environmental monitoring bodies with good conditions shall be entrusted with the task of regional environmental monitoring quality control and the supervision of regional environmental quality monitoring activities in the whole process.
(19) Enhancing the application of high and new technologies. The application of big data, artificial intelligence, satellite remote sensing and other high and new technologies in environmental monitoring and quality administration shall be strengthened, and intelligent identification of and automatic alarm in relation to abnormal data shall be realized by the whole-process monitoring of environmental monitoring activities. New technologies, methods and whole-process quality control technologies relating to environmental monitoring shall be researched, the research, development, promotion and application of portable, quick, and automatic instruments and equipment shall be accelerated, and the scientific and technological level of environmental monitoring shall be raised.
All regions and all relevant departments shall, according to the arrangements and decisions of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, make specific implementation plans based on the actual circumstances, specify division of tasks and time tables, and solidly advance the implementation of all tasks. Local party committees and governments at all levels shall, based on the reform of the environmental protection body monitoring, supervision and law enforcement vertical administration system, strengthen the organization and leadership of environmental monitoring work, research and solve problems in the development and reform of environmental monitoring and the building of institutional teams, among others, in a timely manner, and guarantee buildings, vehicles and funds for monitoring business. The Ministry of Environmental Protection shall set the implementation of these Opinions in all regions as an important part of central environmental protection supervision. The Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Supervision and other departments shall implement matters in the aspects including accountability, project building, funding guarantee, and disciplinary accountability.