The increasing frequency and impact of environmental accidents have pushed the issue of environmental risk management (ERM) to the top of the Chinese governments’ agendas and popularized the term ‘emergency response.’ Although the boundary between environmental accidents and other types of accidents is blurred and effective ERM requires an integrated and coordinated management system, environmental risks have not been given due weight in the overall risk management framework in China. The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Environmental Protection Bureaus at various governmental levels are responsible for the management of environmental risks. In recent years, major developments have taken place within these environmental agencies, but the upward trend in number of environmental accidents has remained unchanged. This raises questions on how these organizations respond to and prevent environmental risks, which shortcomings can be indicated, and what improvements can be made in ERM. This study addresses these questions through a survey among environmental bureaus at provincial and municipal levels. The results indicate that environmental emergency response and ERM have become a major concern of local environmental officials. However, the attitudes, available resources, and organizational capacities vary among environmental agencies, which results in considerable differences in the adopted strategies and management tools. This survey is the first attempt to profile the ERM of the Chinese environmental agencies, which serves as a basis for further analysis of ERM in China.