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Grigory Pasko: Russia Has Oil Spills, Too

pasko_oilspill.jpgIn a recent interview with the French publication Les Echos, Mikhail Khodorkovsky answered questions about what he would do if released into freedom, and addressed earlier statements he has made regarding renewable sources of energy. He answered, “I don’t want to leave Russia. As for questions concerning alternative energy (or rather, new energy sources), I’m still just as interested.” I somehow don’t recall ever hearing about the commitment of the current Russian tandem-rulers to the traditions of the development in our country of alternative energy. Apparently, they’ve got just one thing in their plans: trade in hydrocarbons until their complete and total depletion from the bowels of the Russian land. In the meantime, ecological catastrophes force world leaders to think about climbing down off of the oil thorns as quickly as possible. Just recently even U.S. President Barack Obama focused on this topic. In discussing the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Obama commented that this must finally become a true signal for the transition of the entire country to alternative sources of energy and a strong argument for abandoning the attachment to combustible fuel.

According to some of the more imaginative media observers, in essence, the president of the USA voiced a new national idea, having clarified that America is perfectly capable of the task set by him of climbing down from the “oil thorn”. It might very well turn out to be a politically convenient epiphany on behalf of the American president, but at least the discussion can begin.And what about our country? Ah, in Russia too, it turns out, there are ecologically unfortunate regions. And there are many oil spills, too, though not perhaps as large as the catastrophe in the Gulf. But it’s just not pleasant to write about them. And to show them on TV is unpleasant too. That is, it is as if though we don’t have them at all.In the meantime «Ekologicheskaya vakhta Sakhalina» [Sakhalin Environmental Watch] reports about how ecologists have conducted a public check of compliance with nature-protection norms at the “Tsentralnaya Okha” oil field, which is found in the management of OOO “RN-Sakhalinmorneftegaz” – a subsidiary company of OAO NK “Rosneft”.On the territory of the oil field everywhere was uncovered very strong contamination of the lands and of the surface waters with oil products.The lands in the vicinity of wells Nos. 2921, 2920, 2909, 1436, 1084, 1402, 1413, 1474, 2889, 1459, 796, 767, 1442, 2442, 2841, 780, 1213, 1206, 1647, 1622, as well as aggregates of pumping units are abundantly flooded with oil, the embankments around the wells are broken or absent. In many places oil stands in big puddles or drains off with melt-waters down along the slope of the locale. Strongly contaminated with oil are the floodplains and shores of the river Okhinka and of its tributary the stream Promyslovy, along the surface of the river flow abundant clumps of oil.According to the data of state ecological monitoring, conducted by the Sakhalin administration of the hydrometeorological service, the average annual concentration of oil products in the river Okhinka below the “Tsentralnaya Okha” oil field exceeded maximum allowable concentrations:in the year 2003 – by 487 times,in the year 2004 – by 538 times,in the year 2005 – by 700 times,in the year 2006 – by 1071 times,in the yr. 2007 – by 178 times,in the year 2008 – 76.3 times.It is understandable that there is nobody to control «Rosneft» in contemporary Russia. And nobody, besides ecologists, to speak about alternative sources of energy either….And Khodorkovsky continues to languish in prison. Although our country very much needs his knowledge and his experience. And a contemporary view of problems, an ability to implement the new into life would no doubt come in handy in the business of the development of trends of the transition of the entire country to alternative sources of energy.