The Chinese government defended the Three Gorges dam despite admitting that costs to limit its damage were rising, the Wall Street Journal reported. The government's original budget of US$5.4 billion for resettlement was raised last year to a total of US$7.2 billion. An additional US$1.6 billion was spent on landslide and erosion prevention. A new initiative to reduce pollution and monitor landslides will take up extra funding. However, Wang Xiaofeng, the top official in charge of the dam, said the project had improved flood control and navigation, and reduced the country's reliance on coal. "The geological disaster in this area has been effectively controlled," he said. Wang denied that plans to persuade 4 million people to relocate from the banks of the reservoir and its surroundings were linked to the dam.