A senior official yesterday ruled out any plans to slash the Director of Environmental Protection's power to reject infrastructure projects on environmental grounds. 'The director would become a toothless tiger without the power,' said Secretary for Environment and Food Lily Yam Kwan Pui-ying. She thought it was too early to review the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance as it was enacted only in 1998. She made the remarks during a Cable TV interview by political commentator and former legislator Allen Lee Peng-fei. Since the ordinance came into effect in 1998, projects must produce an environmental impact report before permits are issued to proceed. Last October, the Director of Environmental Protection Rob Law rejected the $7 billion Lok Ma Chau rail link as it cut across wetlands inhabited by rare birds. A month later, he rejected a $1.3 billion road project to link the north and south of Lantau Island because it might cause irreversible damage to the ecology. Mrs Yam believed that with the establishment of the Sustainable Development Unit in April, a better balance could be struck between protection of ecology and social development.