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Wednesday, March 01, 2006


When at first you don't succeed, rig the vote. That's at least what the Russians decided to do when an ecological commission initially voted down the environmental feasability of the propsed East Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline. The proposed path of the pipeline would run within 800 meters of Lake Baikal, a protected area holding a full 2o% of the world's unfrozen fresh water. The story from Russia CIS & Energy Newswire reported it thus:

Most of the experts in a state ecological commission signed a positive conclusion on a feasibility study for the first phase of the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline at a meeting on February 28, Gennady Chegasov, chairman of a commission working group, told Interfax.

At the same time, Chegasov said that he considers "this decision to be illegal."

"After reaching a negative conclusion, the expert commission was increased by 24 people to 89 people. I do not remember any precedent for this. Yesterday there was a meeting of the expert commission at which permission to speak was given only to eight newly added members, and they were, of course, biased. There was no discussion, they said to sign immediately," Chegasov said.

He said that 24 experts were categorically against the feasibility study for the construction of the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline.

Among the experts that signed the positive conclusion there are no ecologists, they are all engineers. There was not one seismic expert," he said.

Environmentalists fear that an earthquake could rupture the pipeline sending oil spilling into the lake.

The first stage of the project would build a 2,400-km oil pipeline from Taishet, about 400 miles west of the lake and not far from the central Siberan oil region, to Skovorodino about half way to the Pacific. Oil would then be transferred to rail for the rest of the trip east.

The second phase of the project would kick in as soon as Eastern Siberian oil fields are developed, and involves building the pipeline section from Skovorodino to Perevoznaya Bay. The Russians plan to supply the oil to Japan and possibly to China via a pipeline extension south.


At 8:16 AM, Blogger David Amulet said...

Wouldn't that be something -- the world's largest source of fresh water beocming the world's largest source of spilled oil.

-- david


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