China bans new oil, coal mines
China is banning new oil and coal mines and coal-fired power plants, and has declared a state of emergency in response to a deadly gas explosion in northeastern China, state media said.
The People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party, on Wednesday reported that a gas explosion on the night of Feb. 13 killed at least eight people and wounded at least 31, and that authorities were investigating the cause of the explosion.
The state-run Xinhua news agency said the gas explosion occurred at the Anjiang Mining Group’s coal mine in Heilongjiang province.
It said the authorities had banned the construction of new coal mines as well as coal-burning power plants in the country, as well a coal mine near Beijing and a nearby mine.
The government has already shut down two coal mines that it blamed on the mine collapse.
The Xinhua report said the government also had imposed restrictions on the use of coal and coal products, and said it would take “all necessary measures” to ensure public safety and environmental protection.
The United States has been warning for months that China is under a state-sponsored campaign to destroy its coal reserves and coal use, and the coal industry is a key part of China’s economy.
The U.S. State Department said it has “serious concerns” about the potential risks posed by the coal sector.
The Chinese government has repeatedly accused the United States of using its influence in international institutions to thwart the development of a coal-based economy.