Staunton, June 21 – In the wake of the Norilsk oil spill, some Duma members are proposing to do away with the preparation of environmental impact statements that had been required before any major construction project could be undertaken especially in ecologically fragile places (kommersant.ru/doc/4378566).
The parliamentarians are pushing for that in order to make it easier for businesses to build and thus help Russia escape from its current economic slump. But the consequences almost certainly will be more environmental damage because corporations won’t be stopped from putting up structures likely to harm the surrounding landscape.
The Thinking-Non-Thinking telegram channel says that the change the Duma is considering means that “neither experts nor society will be able to influence this process and find out certain details about the influence of them on the surrounding milieu. And no one will be able to analyze the projects in a serious way” (t.me/mislinemisli/6154).
The Russian people will be driven back to the situation captured in a current anecdote, the telegram channel says. That anecdote runs as follows: “Specialists say that our people has begun to live better but the people say they haven’t noticed any improvement. But the reason is that they are not specialists.”
If the Duma proceeds as it appears likely to, the telegram channel continues, the only step the powers that be will have to take to make the situation truly appalling: They will have to classify all environmental information so that no activists and no ordinary Russian will know what is going on and have any chance of influencing the situation.
Officials will tell such people that all is well, and the latter will have no basis for rejecting these assurances until of course a disaster occurs so serious that even the powers that be can’t conceal it.