The government has refused to approve or suspended approval of new industrial plants worth billions of dollars because they threaten the environment, AFP reported, citing an official. Deputy Director of the State Environmental Protection Administration Pan Yue said his office rejected 16 proposals and delayed 44 plans in the first quarter of this year. Combined investment in the facilities would have been worth US$23.6 billion. Chemical, petrochemical and power plants that line rivers pose a grave threat to environmental harmony. Pan said emphasis tends to be put on economic gains rather than considerations of pollution when industrial plants are built.