China's Black Environmental Record
The April 10 industrial spill, described by five residents of the village in Inner Mongolia, was a small-scale environmental disaster in a country with too many of them. But Sugai should have been different. The two mills had already been sued in a major case, fined and ordered to upgrade their pollution equipment after a serious spill into the Yellow River in 2004.
The official response to that spill, praised by the state-run news media, seemed to showcase a new, tougher approach toward pollution — until the later spill at Sugai revealed that local officials had never carried out the cleanup orders. Now, the destruction of Sugai is a lesson in the difficulty of enforcing environmental rules in China.
As opposed as I am to over-regulation of the environment here in the U.S., I find what China is doing appalling. China should get no slack, no Kyoto forgiveness, no favored nation status, until it cleans up its act. And we in America should never give up on bringing sensibility and reason back into our repressive environmental laws.
We need more sanity at both poles.