In comparison with local legislation, central legislation is obviously lagging behind in relation to the management of agricultural renewable energy. Although there is still no
60 Supra note 26. 61 Supra note 28.
62 Supra note 30.
63 Ministry of Agriculture, Development Scheme of Projects of Changing Straws to Manure in Form of
Animal Excrement (1996-2000), see http://scmysp.net/zcfg/qgfg/zh/qgzhfg027.htm.
specific legislation for agricultural renewable energy in current local law, local legislation has begun to be enacted. This is before central legislation has been enacted. Furthermore, although almost all provincial people's congresses and governments all over China have established detailed local supporting rules and regulations in accordance with the Law of Energy Saving of the People's Republic of China, most local regulations and rules have not combined development of agricultural renewable energy with energy saving. Some have not even included agricultural renewable energy or biomass energy within the administrative scope of supporting regulations or rules. While there is no central government legislation to support local legislation, it is difficult for local legislation to have any impact in establishing administrative principles and an administrative system.
5.4 Related Provisions in Current Laws and Regulations Lack Sufficient Constraining and Compelling Force
As most of the provisions in current laws and regulations are merely provisions to encourage the development of alternative energies, no related legal obligations and legal responsibilities are provided for managers and users of renewable energy. There is also no legal framework for integrating energy development and environmental protection. Moreover, there is no clear relationship between authorities' legal rights and responsibilities. It is quite obvious that existing legal provisions are insufficient in their operation, constraining power, and compelling power. As a result, the implementation of related state policies is not prescribed in laws nor guaranteed by laws. Some departmental statements were simply established as restrictive measures aimed at administrative officials who violate the public interest and public environment. Such statements stipulated the means of punishment and legal responsibility for these people, while no detailed provisions were provided in relation to the rational utilization and protection of agricultural renewable energy. For example, in Methods on Straw Burning and Integrated Utilization and Methods on Control of Pollution Caused by Animal Husbandry, it is not clear which are the competent administrative authorities to perform governmental duties, legal responsibilities, and obligations in relation to the treatment of straws and animal excrement.
5.5 Management of Agricultural Renewable Energy Has Not Attracted the Common Concern or Recognition of Lawmakers
There is still no specific legislation in relation to the management of agricultural renewable energy, and most local legislation for the protection and management of agricultural renewable energy does not cover the integrated utilization of renewable energy. There is also no discussion on the need for agricultural renewable energy legislation in the mass media or in academic discourse. The management of integrated utilization of agricultural renewable energy has not yet attracted the concern or recognition of most lawmakers and legal researchers. If the integrated utilization of agricultural energy resources can be identified and developed, then the protection of rural ecological environments can be achieved. Yet in order to realize this objective, legislation is needed to effectively and fairly normalize the utilization of such substances and related management behavior.
5.6 Local Comprehensive Legislation on Agricultural Resources Does Not Provide for Agricultural Renewable Energy as an Object for Management
Although Liaoning, Jilin, Zhejiang, and Hubei Provinces have enacted local legislation relating to agricultural resources and their management, such enactments only refer to soil, water, organisms, and climate from the perspective of agricultural production. They do not provide for agricultural wastes generated in the course of agricultural production that can be utilized comprehensively as elements within the category of agricultural resources. For example, in Provisions on Comprehensive Management and Protection of Agricultural Resources of Liaoning Province, agricultural resources are defined as "agricultural natural resources that can be utilized in crop cultivation, forestry, animal husbandry and fishery, such as soil, water, organisms and climate."64 In the General Administrative Regulations on Agricultural Resources of Jilin Province, agricultural resources are defined as "natural resources that can be utilized in crop cultivation, forestry, animal husbandry, fishery, and specialty industries, such as soil, grassland, water, organisms, and climate."65 In Administrative Regulations on Agricultural Natural Resources of Zhejiang Province, agricultural natural resources are defined as "natural resources that are related to productive activities of crop cultivation, forestry, animal husbandry, and fishery, such as soil, water, forest, and organism."66 In the General Administrative Regulations on Agricultural Natural Resources of Hubei Province, agricultural natural resources are defined as "natural resources that are related to productive activities of crop cultivation, forestry, animal husbandry, and fishery, such as soil, water, organism, and climate."67 As local enactments have not included agricultural renewable energy within the definition of agricultural resources, even though these local regulations are enforced, they do not provide a mechanism for the management of agricultural renewable energy.
6 THE GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSIBILITIES AND OBLIGATIONS IN RELATION TO THE MANAGEMENT OF CHINA'S AGRICULTURAL RENEWABLE ENERGIES
This chapter has discussed the concept of agricultural renewable energy in China, the problems with its utilization, the current status of policies and legislation, and the incompleteness of legislation. The author now suggests that it is necessary to place particular emphasis on the legal responsibilities and legal obligations of governments at all levels in relation to the management of agricultural renewable energy.
Of the state or local regulations and rules related to agricultural renewable energy that are enforced, many are concerned mainly with the environmental pollution caused
64 NPC Standing Committee of Liaoning Province, Provisions on Comprehensive Management and Protection of Agricultural Resources of Liaoning Province, December 3, 1997, Art. 2, Great Collections of China Laws and Regulations (Local Collections).
65 NPC Standing Committee of Jilin Province, General Regulations on Agricultural Resources of Jilin Province, December 19, 1997, Art. 2, Great Collections of China Laws and Regulations (Local Collections).
66 NPC Standing Committee of Zhejiang Province, Regulations on Agricultural Natural Resources of Zhejiang Province, November 1, 1999, Art. 2, Great Collections of China Laws and Regulations (Local Collections).
67 NPC Standing Committee of Hubei Province, General Regulations on Agricultural Natural Resources of Hubei Province, July 28, 2000, Art. 2, Great Collections of China Laws and Regulations (Local Collections).
by such substances. These regulations and rules mostly provide normative rules for pollution control and investigation to determine responsibility for such pollution.
Undoubtedly, behavior that leads to environmental pollution falls within the usual administrative functions of governments and relevant parties are duty bound to obey state laws, statutes, and regulations, and to submit to supervision and management by competent administrative authorities of the government. However, the limitation of current laws and regulations is that they exclusively, or almost exclusively, focus on environmental pollution, instead of emphasizing or paying attention to the treatment and rational utilization of agricultural renewable energy substances.
Strictly speaking, the rational utilization of resources and protection and management of ecological environments are both the functions and obligations of the government. Government involvement and action is critical for achieving the objectives of the rational utilization of resources, the protection of ecological environments, and sustainable development. These governmental responsibilities should inform the behavior of resource developers and users, environment users and destroyers. Government should also take into account the following:
1. The government is duty bound to provide technology for the rational utilization and proper treatment of agricultural wastes, and to adopt related policies and measures to support the use of such technologies;
2. The government is duty bound to offer related preferential policies and encouragement for the development and promotion of technology for the integrated utilization of agricultural renewable energy substances, irrespective of whether such development or promotion is productive or nonproductive;
3. The government is duty bound to establish related plans and programs for the rational utilization of agricultural renewable energy, as well as technical development and promotion, within its jurisdiction, so as to guarantee the development of relevant undertakings;
4. The government is duty bound to offer related financial support for the development and promotion of technology for the integrated utilization of agricultural renewable energy, and incorporate such support in the annual fiscal budget of the government;
5. The government is duty bound to offer policy encouragement in the form of investment, taxation, and loans to those enterprises or individuals who invest in the development, application, and promotion of technology for the integrated utilization of agricultural renewable energy, and also provide related preferential policies for the benefit of such persons;
6. The government is duty bound to assume responsibility for energy wastes and environmental pollution caused as a governmental nonfeasance, specifically as a result of its lack of encouragement and support for the development of technology for the rational utilization and proper treatment of agricultural wastes, and for its failure to provide and promote the technology in a timely manner.
Therefore, this author suggests that in legislation related to the management of agricultural renewable energy, the responsibilities and obligations of governments at all levels should be noted with emphasis and specifically prescribed.
INTERNATIONAL ENERGY LAW
Was this article helpful?