Residents from 13 different villages in the Izhma district of Komi region gathered at a public meeting to discuss recent environmental problems caused by Lukoil, the primary oil company operating in this subarctic area. The result of the meeting was sensational for Russia: they unanimously voted for a resolution demanding that Lukoil-Komi Company should leave the district.
In the meeting taking place on March 30st participated 150 locals, along with representatives from local administration, prosecutor’s office and NGO’s including Save the Pechora Committee and Greenpeace. Lukoil managers were invited too, but failed to appear.
People are outraged with multiple violations of environmental laws by the company and its neglecting the interests of local population. The participants compiled a long list of claims to Lukoil during the meeting. Here are just a few examples of why the local residents are now ready to kick the company out of the district.
In February 2014 the villagers of Krasnobor woke up to find that Lukoil had started constructing four new oil wells just 200 meters next to their community, in the forest where they used to collect berries and mushrooms. The community had never been given any notice of the work, much less been invited to any negotiations with the company. Lukoil had not even bothered to inform the local government about their construction plans next to the village.
Alexey Semyashkin, a komi from Krasnobor village, says: “One day I just saw that a tractor fell a bunch of trees in the forest. The company made seismic and did not bother to clean the land afterwards”.
Main Lukoil’s pipeline in the Izhma district was constructed only 10 years ago, but it is already leaking badly. The latest leak occurred just a few days ago, and company tried to conceal it.
In March 2014 Lukoil tried to clean spilled oil by burning it, which caused heavy air pollution. “For two days after the accident we could see black smoke from 10 kilometers distance”, - claim locals.