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Buryat public figures seek safe oil pipeline route near Baikal
Wednesday, March 12, 2003

ITAR-TASS News Agency, by Alexei Subbotin

Prominent scientists, cultural figures, and business leaders of the Buryat Republic on Wednesday published an open letter to the government of Russia on the problem of choosing a route for an export-oriented oil pipeline running from Eastern Siberia to Pacific Rim countries.

The letter expresses concern over the fact that the project of an Angarsk-Nakhodka oil trunkline -- which, as Transneft company designers contemplate, is to run near the northern shore of Lake Baikal -- has not been widely discussed up to now. As a result, the public has no answers to questions about the ecological safety of the pipeline, although the latter is to run across permafrost areas, superhigh-seismicity zones, northern high mountains, and Lake Baikal catchment areas.

An Angarsk-Daqing (China) pipeline route lacks most of such problems. The Yukos company, which prepares the latter project, conducts an active dialogue with the public in order to increase the ecological safety of the project, the letter pointed out.

The letter signatories emphasise that they do not urge the government to choose some particular option. However, they believe that the government, when making a decision on an oil pipeline route, must take into account the opinion of Buryatia's population.


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