MITI role as power plant assessor urged

An advisory body to the MITI chief said Feb. 17 that the ministry should play a key role in the environmental assessment of power plants to ensure that the facilities are ecologically friendly and energy is developed smoothly.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry plans to submit a bill based on the panel’s recommendation to change the Electricity Utility Industry Law, ministry officials said. In its recommendation, the Electricity Utility Industry Council acknowledged the need to legislate the environmental assessment of power plants in accordance with principles presented earlier by the Central Environmental Council, an advisory body to the prime minister.

At the same time, however, the council said the “subjective involvement” of government authorities from an early stage of the assessment process is indispensable to appease an anxious public over power development. The government is now moving to create the nation’s first environmental assessment law to cover all major projects, including power plants.