The Law on Air Pollution Prevention and Control is the most important overarching framework law on China's air pollution regime, aimed at protecting and improving the environment, preventing and controlling air pollution, safeguarding public health, promoting the ecological infrastructure development and facilitating sustainable economic and society growth. It comprehensively addresses China's air pollution prevention and control of air pollution from coal and industrial activities as well as other pollution sources. It also promotes joint regional air pollution prevention and control to collaborate efforts to reduce air pollutants such as volatile organic compounds and greenhouse gases.
The regulation directs the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, as well as environmental agencies and bureaus of the local government to formulate air quality standards and air pollutant emissions standards in their jurisdictions, respectively. Entities that emit pollutants into the atmosphere shall meet air pollutants emission standards, and comply with key atmospheric pollutant control requirements. Article 18 establishes that enterprises, institutions and other producers and operators shall make an environmental impact assessment, following the law, when constructing a project that can affect the atmospheric environment, and publish its assessment documents.
Furthermore, it sets requirements for monitoring and reporting of air pollution. It does not mention methane specifically, but it outlines sanctions for several prohibited actions, including:
- For any oil and gas storage centre, gasoline and gas station, oil tank truck or gas tank truck that does not install oil and gas recovery devices or does not use such devices consistently according to regulations;
- For non-recycling of flammable gases generated by industrial production, waste landfill or other activities or not conducting acts to prevent and control pollution for non-recycling entities;
- For not repairing or updating flammable gases recovery and recycle equipment that cannot operate normally in a timely manner;
- For discharging air pollutants without obtaining a pollutant discharge permit;
- For discharging air pollutants that exceed pollutant emission standards or the total emission control target of key air pollutants.