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U.S. and China to Partner for a Better Global Environment

Release Date: 04/07/2006
Contact Information: Jennifer Wood, (202) 564-4355 / wood.jennifer@epa.gov

(Washington, D.C. - April 7, 2006) Marking a new era of global environmental cooperation, U.S. EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson departs today on the first trip to China in seven years by an EPA administrator. Johnson will meet with top Chinese environmental officials to discuss opportunities for increased cooperation and to observe progress on existing collaborative initiatives. He will visit the cities of Beijing, Lijiang and Shanghai.

"Just as we live in a global economy, we also live in a global environment,'' Johnson said. "As major contributors to the global economy, the U.S. and China are vital to the health of the global environment.''

In Beijing, Johnson will meet with Minister Zhou Shengxian of China's State Environmental Protection Administration, and Deputy Director Pei Chenghu of the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau to highlight collaborative clean air efforts, particularly for the 2008 Olympics. China has committed to have a Green Olympics by working to improve Beijing air quality, using recyclable materials, and building sustainable structures that will have immediate commercial uses following the Olympics. Johnson and Environment Minister Zhou will sign an agreement on hazardous waste management that will encourage cooperation in locating and disposing of polychlorinated biphenyls. Programs will also be developed in China similar to U.S. programs to clean up and remediate large areas of contaminated land, and turn them into commercially-viable new developments.

In Lijiang, Yunnan Province, Johnson will visit one of two EPA-funded pilot projects that use cleaner, safer home cooking and heating practices. Almost half of the world's population burns traditional fuels like firewood, coal and crop residues indoors for home cooking and heating. The high levels of pollutants in these indoor smoke result in increased disease and mortality. In the Haixi Village outside of Lijiang, Johnson will tour village homes and witness traditional and improved cooking and heating technologies. One pilot project is being done by The Nature Conservancy China Program in Yunnan Province to reduce fuel wood use by 75 percent in the next 10 years, and use alternative energy to meet the rural communities' energy needs. A second project in Guizhou Province and implemented by the Institute for Environmental Health and Related Product Safety of the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention will test a sustainable comprehensive approach to improving health through affordable, reliable, clean, safe and efficient household energy use.

In Shanghai, with a population of more than 20 million, Johnson will attend several events that demonstrate China's commitment to cooperation with the United States in promoting cleaner air. Johnson and Chinese officials will announce an air quality forecasting and public notification system in Shanghai to be modeled on the AIRNow system successfully used in more than 300 U.S. cities to help protect public health. On a tour of the Wai Gaiqiao coal-fired power plant, Johnson will observe installed advanced scrubber technologies that control for sulfur dioxide emissions that lead to acid rain, smog, and other pollution. It is hoped this project will lead to similar ones across China. Johnson also will visit the port terminal in Wai Gaiqiao and meet with officials from the Shanghai Municipal Port Administration Bureau and the Port of Los Angeles as they begin the next phase of a partnership supported by EPA to reduce air pollution from port activities.

Additional information on the U.S. EPA's work to date with China: epa.gov/oia/airandclimate/byregion/chinaair.html