|Sakhalin Environment Watch
|Dmitry Lisitsyn さん
Sakhalin Energy company (shareholders are Shell, Mitsui and Mitsubishi) under the Sakhalin II project builds oil-and-gas pipelines from the north to the south of Sakhalin Island. Pipelines cross about 1100 rivers, the most part of which is spawning for pink, cherry, chum, coho salmon and Sakhalin taimen, included in the Red Book of the Russian Federation. Public research and monitoring of the construction work on the pipelines crossings of spawning rivers in 2005 has shown, that construction has a huge influence on the rivers ecosystems: rivers banks are exposed to a strong erosion, turbidity of the water is sharply grows, quality of the spawning grounds is worsened and its become covered by a thick layer of silt. All this has a negative effect for salmon populations at the different cycles of their evolution - spawn, fry and adult individuals of fishes ready to spawning. Meanwhile, the company monitoring program does not include such major research method of impact on salmon, as calculation of fry (young fish) during their rolling from the rivers into the sea. This method is annually applied by Sakhalin State Fishery Service for forecasts of pink salmon approaches into the rivers. Applying such method of research and comparing the received results with dynamics of fry amount in the previous years, it is possible to determine what influence construction work had on the process of spawning. As Sakhalin Fishery Service conducts the fry calculation only on the several base rivers, which have remained away from the pipelines route, it is necessary to carry out additional independent researches on pink salmon fries calculation on the rivers which have been impacted from the construction. Our project includes several parts: - Information gathering about the rivers, where official calculation of pink salmon fry rolling is conducted, and the long-term data on the fry rolling (as the base information for comparison); - Organization of the independent researches on calculation of pink salmon fry during the rolling on the rivers, crossed by the pipelines, and on the rivers, not exposed to influence; - Research of the silting level of spawning grounds on a number of the important spawning rivers; - Monitoring of construction work on the crossing of the spawning rivers in 2006; - Preparation and distribution of the report on the received results of researches and initiation of the campaign for official calculation of the damage caused to the spawning rivers by pipeline construction.
We have sent the letter to the State Fish Service with the offer to conduct the control investigation of the salmon spawning grounds condition and to calculate salmon fry during migration on a number of the rivers crossed by Sakhalin II project pipeline. However the Fish Service has answered that such investigation is impossible because of insufficiency of experts as well as because it is impossible to calculate salmon fry without conducting of preliminary research of definition of places with spawning nests. We have continued attempts to organize the research and for this purpose at the end of April we have agreed with Smirnykh Ichthyology Survey Station of the Fish Service about conducting of trial opening of spawning nests on several rivers on the central Sakhalin. However this attempt has terminated in failure because of a plenty of snow and a powerful ice cover on the rivers - several days of work on clearings of the river channels and searches of the nests have not brought any result. June - October: Then in June we have conducted the negotiations and made an agreement with independent expert, doctor of biological science, professor Valeriy Efanov regarding conducting of the research of salmon spawning grounds conditions, their silting level (already after thawing of ice on the rivers) and preliminary recalculation of damage to fish stocks from construction of the pipeline. At last this research was carried out on a number of the rivers in the period August - September. The commission of experts surveyed 27 rivers: Travyanaya, Pugachevka, Tikhaya, Manuy, Baklanovka, Aidar, Dudinka, Chernaya, Firsovka, Kirpichnaya, Bolshaya Podlesnaya, Malaya Podlesnaya, Ai, Bolshoi Takoy, Vostochnaya, Lazovaya, Lesnaya, Makarova, Gornaya, Markovka, Turovka, Nitui, Goryanka, Gastelovka, Malakhitovka, Vulkanka, Rudnaya (Dolinskiy, Makarovskiy and Poronaiskiy Districts). All these rivers are large on the Sakhalin scales and have a huge value as the habitat and reproduction places of the Pacific salmons. Students of the Sakhalin State University participated in field works and processing of the collected material as well. The research has revealed that pollution of the spawning rivers waters by the suspended solids and, as consequence, silting of the spawning grounds, are distributed much further downstream rather than it was accepted in Sakhalin II project EIA and was used for calculation of the damage to the fish stocks. Research also has shown that restoration of an initial condition of the river banks in the line of the pipeline right-of-way occurs much longer than three years accepted in EIA and damage calculation. Accordingly, washout of a ground from the Sakhalin II pipeline route right-of-way will occur much longer than 3 years, that considerably extends term of the impact and increases the damage to fish stocks. Besides Sakhalin Energy at calculation of the damage did not take into account influence from construction of the access roads and numerous temporary bridges through the rivers. Based on the data collected during the research professor Efanov has executed detailed recalculation of damage for crossing through the spawning River Ai in Dolinskiy District. The size of the actual damage has made 895,42 tons of fish products instead of 121,65 tons calculated by the Sakhalin Energy company. Common size of compensation of fish damage for all rivers professor Efanov has roughly determined in 106,48 million dollars. April - October: In April we have conducted a joint field check together with Sakhalin Department of the Federal Service on Technological and Ecological Control. During the check the following infringements were revealed: - An illegal storehouse of barrels with ethylene glycol, belonging to Svarochno-Montazhnyi Trest. Ethylene Glycol (antifreeze) is a dangerous substance used for hydrotests of the pipeline. Its hit in an environment is fraught with serious consequences for nature and the people. Using of the ethylene glycol was not stipulated by the project documentation of the TEO-C which has received the positive conclusion of the State Ecological Expertise; - Non-reclamate mud storages located in water-protection zone of the Firsovka River, in the zone of flooding by flood waters. Drill Tec Company, conducting horizontal drilling under the river for a lining of the pipeline, has undertaken to reclamate the mud storages prior to the beginning of a flood season. However thawing of snow already began, and waste in the majority are not removed yet; - A number of the re-routings of the pipeline not passed through the State Ecological Expertise. During pipeline field check in May 2006 the following facts were revealed: - The Firsovka River: during rising of water in the river because of the spring flood, there was a washout of walls of one of the mud storage and the part of the drilling waste has got into the river being a reservoir of the highest fishery category. Though Drill Tec Company was obliged to liquidate the mud storages illegally placed in water-protection zone of the river in proper time (prior to the beginning of flood). - The Pugachevka River: the contractor - StarStroy Company has exceeded the right-of-way bounds and construction work (in particular, ploughing up the grounds, movement of the heavy vehicle) were carried out within the strip in width about 200 meters instead of the approved 43 meters. Besides of the damage of forest vegetation, influence from over permitted pollution by the suspended solids was rendered on the Pugachevka River. - Also during the check it was revealed that StarStroy Company has delivered a plenty of barrels with ethylene glycol in Pugachevo village. But StarStroy and its contractor do not have any permissions for storage and use of the ethylene glycol during the hydrotests of the pipelines. The place of warehousing of the barrels with ethylene glycol is not equipped in appropriate way, the part of the barrels are deformed, in some barrels the walls are punched and ethylene glycol are flow out from the holes. On results of the check we has applied to Nature Protection Prosecutor and Sakhalin Department of Federal Service on Supervision in sphere of Nature Using (Rosprirodnadzor) with appeal about violations of the nature protection legislation during a lining of pipelines. During repeated check of Rosprirodnadzor the facts revealed by us basically were confirmed and StarStroy Company was fined on 33 thousand rubles (970 euros) in total. In June - October 2006 we have conducted own 6 field inspections of different segments of the pipeline route. We also participated in more than 5 inspections conducted by Rosprirodnadzor. During the checks the following typical violations were revealed: - An inefficiency of antierosion measures and as consequence the washout of the rivers' banks, intensive pollution of the watercourses by the suspended solids; - Obstruction of the rivers by washed off bank-protecting material (a plastic net, Reno mattresses). It represents the big problem for fish going on spawning; - The bridge remains in the rivers constricting the river channel and capable to result in formation of a logjam and in changing of the river channel in the future; - Huge hollow of the ground on the slope near the Krinka River that can result in formation of the landslips and the subsequent pollution of the river, - Carelessly equipped warehouse for storage of the barrels with ethylene glycol in Pugachevo; - A flowing of a dirty from the route beyond of the right-of-way; - Absence of the bridges through the rivers and driving of vehicle directly on streams channel; - Logjams on some rivers formed because of the washout of the not removed bridges rests. Also huge earth deposits outside of the pipeline right-of-way were found out. The deposits were not approved by the appropriate state bodies. On some rivers works are conducted near to a water-current, however silt fences are absent. The photographs made during the checks have lain in a basis of three photo-reports directed to the some state bodies, international financial institutions, press and to other stakeholders. Outcome of your research: The detailed report about this research we have directed to the Rosprirodnadzor of the Russian Federation. At the present moment, being based on these data, Rosprirodnadzor tries to organize the official recalculation of damage by the group of independent experts in which professor Efanov also will enter. By results of the group's work new calculation of damage will be presented to Sakhalin Energy for compensation. We closely cooperate with Rosprirodnadzor in this work. The field checks entailed a big changes in governmental control over the Sakhalin II project and of construction practice of Sakhalin Energy. Sakhalin state bodies checked the pipeline construction sites after our inspections and always revealed the breaches and imposed penalties on the contract construction companies. After the checks in the end of August - beginning of September 2006 Sakhalin Department of Federal Service on the Supervision of Nature Using (Rosprirodnadzor) has revealed so many violations that decided to suspend construction work of Sakhalin Energy until it eliminates the revealed violations. Since beginning of September the Rosprirodnadzor inspectors have been asking us to provide them data about violations of environment legislation and approved technologies of the pipeline construction. In September 16, 2006 General Prosecutor recognized the conclusion of State Ecological Expertise (SEE) on Sakhalin II project phase 2 as illegal and liable to revocation. After that the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) has issued an order canceling the conclusion of SEE. Now the Rosprirodnadzor is carrying out the official inspection attracting us as local experts of environmental issues surround the pipeline construction. By the way, we have already used this increasing of Rosprirodnadzor activity on Sakhalin for organizing a new extended field inspection on old dirty onshore oil fields belonging to State Russian oil company Rosneft. We had been trying to organize this kind of inspection on Rosneft fields several years without success and just now it became possible. SEW is participating in the inspection as a coordinator and field researchers. We are absolutely sure that our regular checks and informing of state bodies made its big contribution in suspending of Sakhalin Energy construction work and in decision of MNR to revoke the main ecological permission on Sakhalin II project. We believe these actions finally will improve the technical design of the Sakhalin II project and contractors’ and sub-contractors’ construction methods. As a result the Sakhalin II project will be much more safety for Sakhalin environment and local population. We understand, that this last activity of Russian federal agencies regarding Sakhalin II project has hidden political reasons, but no doubt that it’s extremely useful and necessary for Sakhalin Nature and local people, which we, as a local NGO, carry about. Plan for the latter half of your research: In the second half of the project we shall continue work with Rosprirodnadzor on the organization of the official recalculation of damage to salmon spawning grounds and to fish stocks from construction of the pipeline and we shall achieve presentation of its to Sakhalin Energy for compensation. We will cover this process in the press. Besides we plan to begin the work on the organization of additional researches in Aniva Bay with the purpose of definition of actual damage from construction of the jetties for export of oil and LNG. We have already received the request for participation in this work from the Rosprirodnadzor. Also we will continue field checks of pipeline construction through the rivers and we will provide operatively their results in the state bodies.
In the end 2006 - beginning 2007 we have organized an independent research of pipeline construction's impact on the spawning rivers under the direction of professor Efanov, who is also a doctor of biological science. Research was conducted in the field conditions and has included sampling on about 30 rivers. By results of research Efanov has prepared a report proving the size of damage to fish resources at a rate of 895,42 tons instead of 121,65 tons calculated by Sakhalin Energy. In money terms the size of damage determined by the professor has made 106,48 million US dollars, that almost in 10 times more indemnifications of Sakhalin Energy. The given report was directed to Administration of the Sakhalin Region and Rosprirodnadzor for acceptance of the further decisions and actions on recalculation of damage to fish stocks from the Sakhalin II project and its presentation to Sakhalin Energy for collecting. End of work on recalculation of damage by the state bodies is postponed on an autumn 2007. Since April 2006 till May 2007 we have conducted 14 public inspections of Sakhalin II pipeline construction sites, 12 joint field checks together with Sakhalin state bodies and more than ten 1-2-days trips on the pipeline route in Dolinsk, Makarov, Smirnykh, Tymovsk and Nogliki districts. By results of repeated checks by regional offices of public Prosecutor it is revealed more than 40 infringements of the nature protection legislation during the construction of the Sakhalin II pipeline in Poronaisk, Smirnykh, Nogliki, Korsakov, Tymovsk and Makarov districts. Sakhalin Energy and its contractors were incurred an administrative penalties on a total sum of 300 000 roubles (11 550 US dollars). Besides now in proceeding of the Sakhalin Nature Protection Office of Public Prosecutor there is a criminal case on the fact of infringement of the nature protection legislation one of contractors. Sakhalin Energy company has changed project decisions on construction of the pipelines through active seismic faults - through 4 faults the pipe will be laid by an elevated way that many years demanded by the public environment organizations.