GREENPEACE AND WWF DEMAND TO PROTECT ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS OF RUSSIAN CITIZENS
Regulation on the assessment of the environmental consequences of economic plans and other activities allows citizens and public organizations to assess projects and reasonably demand to cancel the construction of facilities that have a negative impact on the environment. As a result of the EIA cancellation, citizens will no longer even be able to find out of plans to construct a gas pipeline near to where they leave, build up a part of a protected area, build an incineration plant or open a new uranium landfill.
EIA determines the procedure for conducting public discussions, as well as the procedure for impact assessment, which includes the mandatory research of possible environmental impact of the proposed activity and its mandatory comparison to alternatives, including the option of completely abandoning the activity. All documentation must be scientific, reliable and based on the law. If this mechanism is revoked, any document can be accepted as impact assessment, and a letter from local administration officials in support of a project can be recognized as public discussion.
"Thanks to EIA, the public has managed to stop many hazardous projects, such as the construction of the Evenk hydroelectric power plant in Krasnoyarsk Krai or the construction of an incinerator in St. Petersburg. The court was able to prove the illegality of catching killer whales and beluga whales that turned up in the so-called "whale prison" based on it being in violation of the EIA procedure," recalls Mikhail Kreindlin, head of the program for protected areas of Greenpeace Russia. "Regulation on EIA is the last document approved by the State Ecology Committee of the Russian Federation the day before its abolition. Since then, there has been no independent state environmental authority in Russia. I hope that we will be able to maintain Regulation on EIA."
"We agree that it is necessary to improve the regulatory control related to EIA, but it is very clear that the proposed repeal of Regulation on EIA, even if it comes into force in January 2021, can lead to negative consequences," explains Acting Director of Environmental Policy, Director of the Environmental Protection Regulation Program at WWF-Russia Yekaterina Khmeleva. "Since 2014, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Russia, with our support and support from other environmental organizations and responsible businesses, has been developing a draft federal law that designed to fill in the existing gaps and increase the significance of the EIA procedure, including a clearer regulation of public discussion. The law has not yet been adopted, and this example gives reason to doubt that a new regulatory document on EIA will be developed and will enter into force within a year, given the huge number of other documents that will have to be prepared and adopted within this period. We believe that the current Regulation on EIA should not be repealed prior to the adoption of a new legal document."
The public discussion of the Ministry's project is held on the website regulation.gov. Comments on the project are accepted until December 4. At the moment, more than 6 thousand Russian citizens have voted against the abolition of EIA.
Photo in the caption and in the announcement: (c) Andrey Shegolev / WWF-Russia.