From: Associated Press
Published November 9, 2005 12:00 AM

Environmentalists Criticize Route of Planned Siberia-Pacific Pipeline in New Report

MOSCOW — Environmentalists slammed the proposed route for an oil pipeline from Siberia to Russia's Pacific in a report released Tuesday, arguing that it could send 4,000 tons of crude spilling into the world's largest freshwater body in just 20 minutes if ruptured.

As well as passing within 800 meters (875 yards) of Lake Baikal in Siberia, the pipeline project envisages planting a giant oil terminal in a vulnerable and wildlife-rich Pacific Coast bay.

The report's authors, which included Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund, said a new route should be selected and called on banks and potential contractors to boycott the project, which is expected to cost between US$11 billion (euro9 billion) and US$17 billion (euro14 billion).

Mikhail Kreindlin of Greenpeace noted that UNESCO officials had suggested that Lake Baikal could be removed from its list of world heritage sites in the event of a spill. "There's no need to say what this would do for the international image of Russia," Kreindlin said.

Yevgeny Shvarts, Director of Conservation Policy at WWF in Russia, stressed that environmentalists were opposed to the route selected by state pipeline monopoly Transneft rather than the pipeline itself. The pipeline is a key geopolitical tool for President Vladimir Putin's government, allowing Russia to send its oil to the energy hungry economies of China, Japan and South Korea.


Source: Associated Press

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