The Campaign against Industrial Development on Taman
In 2007-08, Saving Taman! and Environmental Watch on the North Caucasus gathered signatures in Taman in opposition to industrial and environmentally dangerous development on the peninsula. The population of Taman is approximately 10,000, and our partners collected over 5,000 signatures (together with passport information and official documentation) in opposition to oil development. The signatures were provided to the IFC, local government officials and to the companies developing projects on Taman.
Complaints against the IFC
The IFC-financed Russkiy Mir Terminal is creating a development environment in which the infrastructure for additional terminals can be laid, easing the difficulties other oil and gas transport investors may face in this region. By developing the railroad, building roads, and beginning the industrialization of the region, the Russkiy Mir project sets a dangerous and environmentally unsustainable precedent on Taman.
Crude Accountability, Saving Taman! and EWNC are working with local residents to ensure that their voices are heard, their economic, environmental and human rights are not violated, and to secure a sustainable and environmentally sound future for the Taman Peninsula.
Since 2007, local activists have submitted three complaints to the Office of Compliance, Advisor/Ombudsman (CAO) of the World Bank. The complaints voiced local concerns about violations of Russian environmental legislation, human rights law, and destruction of private property as a result of the IFC-financed Russkiy Mir terminal.
In 2007, Saving Taman! and EWNC filed a complaint with the CAO outlining the violations of Russian legislation in the initial classification of the project by the IFC. The IFC classified the Russkiy Mir project as a category “B” project, indicating that it had only limited environmental impact. The “B” classification also meant that less stringent public consultation was required than if it had been classified as a category “A” project. The complainants outlined over 30 violations of Russian law in their complaint. The CAO closed the complaint stating it did not require additional investigation beyond the initial assessment.
Also in 2007, a second complaint was filed by an individual whose human rights were violated by the project. This person lives inside the sanitary protection zone (SPZ) of the project—an oil pipeline has been built less than 1000 meters from his home; a direct violation of Russian law. The CAO came to Taman to investigate the complaint and measured the distance from the pipeline to his home and confirmed it was 700 meters. Inexplicably, the CAO also closed this complaint saying that the SPZ was not a concern for the IFC.
In 2008, ninety Taman residents filed a joint complaint stating that roads and homes were being destroyed by the heavy trucks used by Tamanneftegas to bring construction and other materials to the Russkiy Mir site. The CAO sent staff to investigate this complaint and also closed it.
The residents of Taman are surprised and puzzled by the actions of the World Bank and have written letters of complaint to the President of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick.
At present, the CAO has closed all complaints from Taman, with no productive resolution of the problems raised.
The Environmental and Health Issues
Although the IFC has categorized the project as Category B under the Warehousing and Transportation sector, we believe this is a miscategorization of the project; it should have been handled through the Oil, Gas, Chemicals and Mining Department of the IFC, as the project is entirely connected to oil and gas transportation. The IFC itself states that the “environmental and social issues associated with the Taman terminal include: siting and land acquisition, construction impacts, hazardous materials management, emergency preparedness and response, terminal pollution and waste management, navigational safety, community engagement, cultural heritage, employee safety, and environmental systems management.” The local population is suffering the effects of the Taman terminal development in each of these categories.