July 10, 2008

Environmentalists Worry Sakhalin-1 Pipeline Could Spell Extinction of Gray Whale

MOSCOW. July 9 (Interfax) - Twelve Russian and international environmental organizations have called for rerouting the Sakhalin- 1 oil pipeline in order to remove the danger it poses to the population of gray whales.

"In a letter sent to Rex Tillerson, chief executive of Exxon [the operator of Sakhalin-1 project], environmental organizations including WWF, Greenpeace, Sakhalin Environmental Watch and others call for altering the route of the Sakhalin-1 oil pipeline to remove the danger to gray whales," a statement released by WWF on Wednesday says.

"It is highly probable that fish and other species of the sea flora and fauna in the Piltun Bay will face mass death because of the open-cut laying of the oil pipeline with the use of an ice dam," the document says.

"If this happens, you could face the risk of a delay in the project and additional expenditures, because in that case [the Russian environmental watchdog] Rosprirodnadzor will have enough ground to revoke the positive assessment of its environmental examination, which can lead to the project being delayed for an indefinite time," the letter sent to Tillerson is quoted in the statement as stating.

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