March 19, 2018 / 5:10 AM / in 9 months

Head of China's new environmental watchdog warns of challenges, tight gas supplies

Reporters raise their hands to ask a question during a news conference with Chinese Minister of Environmental Protection Li Ganjie at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing, China October 23, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s head of the newly-created Ministry of Ecological Environment warned on Monday of continuing challenges in the prolonged battle against pollution and expressed concerns about tight natural gas supplies.

“We are making a three-year plan to win the battle for blue skies. The detailed plan is under work, but in principal we want to control pollution in key areas and from heavy industries,” said, Li Ganjie, the new minister for the Ecological Environment ministry, during a session at this week’s National People’s Congress (NPC).

China announced last week during the NPC that it would transform the former Ministry of Environmental Protection into the Ecological Environment ministry with great powers that include taking on the environmental duties of the land, water and agriculture ministries.

Li reiterated the ministry’s goal to reduce the supply glut in heavy industries and shift commodities transportation from using trucks to using railroads, during a interview with press at the Great Hall of the People.

He also said natural gas supplies will continue to be tight in the future as the country pushes forward on switching consumers from coal to gas.

“Using gas as a fuel for heating would be the most valuable usage for natural gas,” he said.

Reporting by Meng Meng and Josephine Mason; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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