correspondence Taman

Appeal to the President of the World Bank October 7, 2007

Appeal to the President of the World Bank

Preserve the Natural, Cultural and Historical Heritage of Taman!

No to Construction and Expansion of Seaports on Taman Peninsula!

(Appeal by the Black Sea Environmental NGOs of Russia)

Anapa City (Krasnodar Territory)
October 7, 2007

Achim Steiner
Secretary General, United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP)

Robert B. Zoellick
President of the World Bank

Jean Lemierre
President of European Bank
Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

Vladimir Putin
President of Russia

Victor Zubkov
Prime Minister of Russia

Alexander Tkachev
Krasnodar Territory Government

Sergey Zaitsev Head of Temriuk District Administration

Russian NGOs working to protect the Black Sea eco-system are extremely disturbed by plans to build new ports on the Taman Peninsula (Krasnodar Territory, Russia).

Taman Peninsula is a unique area characterized by its unequalled natural and cultural-historical heritage, with great potential to become a resort area. This land is not intended for any chemical or petroleum terminals. It has virtually everything to become a national health resort on par with Sochi, Anapa and Gelendzhik. Instead, it is being prepared for the sad lot already incurred by the Black Sea cities of Tuapse and Novorossiysk. Because of the operation of powerful ports and the industries that accompany them, the residents of these cities are living in environmentally dangerous circumstances.

Nevertheless, in spite of all this, active construction of new ports is ongoing on the Taman Peninsula, bringing environmental destruction and destroying any chance for its development as a recreation destination. The port development dooms its inhabitants to extinction and forced migration because their constitutional right to a favorable environment is being flagrantly violated. This is not our assumption about future developments, but rather a statement about what is already happening. Specifically, this has occurred in the village of Chushka, where one of the actively developing ports—Port Caucasus—is located.

Here, the construction of new chemical terminals, pursued by Port-Kavkaz Company and Yugkhimterminal Company, and the expansion of the petroleum terminal owned by STL-Trading Company has resulted in true ecological catastrophe, which has caused severe illnesses among local residents, a sharp increase in mortality, and forced migration of inhabitants. The new terminals have huge negative influence on the unique nature of the Taman-Zaporozh’ye Wildlife Preserve in whose territory the above facilities were installed in violation of legislation standards. A similar lot is now threatening also the settlements of Taman, Volna and Artyushchenko next to which construction of petroleum and chemical terminals is planned.

The new ports of “Taman'” (“Zhelezny Rog”) and “Kuban” are planned for location in the vast area stretching from Solenoye Lake to the Tuzla Dam. Here construction is already underway by such companies as “Tamanneftegaz”, “TogliattiAzot”, and “Efko”. In the near future, construction of the terminals for Gazexport, Soyuzresurs, Transbunker companies is to be launched. If all these plans are realized, Taman will become the largest petrochemical port on the Black Sea.

This trend is destructive not only in an environmental and social sense, but also from the perspective of sustainable economic development of the region. It would be much more effective to develop the Taman Peninsula precisely as a health resort and recreation zone.

The construction of ports on the Taman Peninsula is not only a problem for Russia. The border with Ukraine is just several kilometers away and the ports will have a negative transboundary impact; in fact, they already do. Negative impacts will be exerted on the ecosystem of the Black Sea as a whole since an increase in the port capacity will cause further increase in the trans-shipment of dangerous cargo through its water, increasing the risk of the catastrophic oil spills. The international character of this problems is also underscored by the fact that one of the most dangerous projects being developed on the Taman Peninsula—the oil and gas terminal of the company Tamanneftegas—received financial support from the World Bank. In our opinion, this was a serious mistake by this authoritative international institution, and contradicts its environmental policies.

In this connection, we want to bring to the international institutions and the Russian state bodies the opinion of Russian Black Sea NGOs regarding the port development in the Taman Peninsula.

We appeal to the Russian state bodies to review the concept of the development of Taman Peninsula and to abandon plans to further construct ports in its territory. We also request that they take measures to resolve the catastrophic ecological and social situation in the village of Chushka.

We appeal to the international financial institutions not to provide any financial support to the port construction projects on the Taman peninsula or to transportation and other infrastructure projects that support them.

We appeal to UNEP to take control of the situation to protect the favorable environment in the Taman Peninsula and adjacent water bodies of the Black and Azov Seas and to undertake all possible measures so that the development of this region will correspond with principles of sustainable development.

From our side, our non-governmental organizations are ready to take all possible action in order to ensure that the development of the Taman Peninsula takes a healthier course, without damage to its residents, to its nature and to its cultural-historical heritage.

Please send replies to the following address: 385012, Maikop, Poselkovaya Str. 36, Environmental Watch for North Caucasus.

Coordinator of Environmental Watch on North Caucasus

Co-Chairman of Temryuk District NGO “Saving Taman!”

Chairman of Coordination Council of Krasnodar Territory NGO
“Utrish” (Anapa)
Stanislav ERMOLAEV

President of NGO “Sailing Academy” (Taganrog)

Co-Chairman of NGO “Public Control Committee”

Chairman of Environment and Natural Landscapes Section,
Sochi Branch of Russian Geographic Society

Head of Initiative Group “Clean City” (Tuapse)

Co-Chairman of Krasnodar Regional Branch of
All-Russia NGO “Citizens United Green Alternative” (GROZA)