In the near future, a working group may be formed in the lower house of parliament to deal with the pollution of the Volga River. In particular, the deputies intend to deal with the plans of the company "SVEZA" Alexei Mordashov to build a pulp and paper mill at the Rybinsk reservoir. The working group should include deputies from all four factions, and it will be headed by Valentina Tereshkova, who had previously openly opposed the construction of the pulp and paper mill.
“The state of the Volga River is of great concern. Industrial enterprises cause significant damage to the river and the coastal zone. Water in the Volga almost everywhere has a high degree of pollution. I ask you to explain the need to build a pulp and paper mill in the Vologda region on the shore of the Rybinsk reservoir, ”Tereshkova addressed to the Minister of Natural Resources Dmitry Kobylkin on the“ government hour ”on December 5, 2018.
Kobylkin replied that the ministry does not determine whether to build a pulp and paper mill or not, specifying only that it cannot be built using the old technology: "We are closing them all over the country." “Our position - if an investor wants to risk his money and invest in a project, then let him invest. But he will not be able to implement this project without environmental impact assessment, which will pass through our department and our service, ”the minister added.
At the same time, the working group for the conservation of the Volga River will not limit itself to the construction of a pulp and paper mill. The work is planned large-scale and long. The group itself, in addition to Valentina Tereshkova, will include Evgeny Primakov, Mikhail Degtyarev, Anatoly Greshnevikov, Ildar Gilmutdinov, Olga Alimova, and others. Only 48 deputies.
“We need to understand what needs to be done so that the Volga does not silt. There are problems with a huge cascade of hydropower stations along the Volga. There are questions about the consistency of discharges of all hydrotechnical facilities that are along the Volga. In the Saratov region, where my district is located, voters are very worried and interested in what will happen to their river-breadwinner, ”Yevgeny Primakov told Daily Storm.
As for the pulp and paper mill in the Vologda Oblast and the investor that Minister Kobylkin was talking about, this is the SVEZA company, which, according to SPARK-Interfax, is 100% owned by the Severgroup Alexei Mordashov. In November 2018, the Daily Storm wrote about the billionaire’s plans to build a pulp mill in Cherepovets six times more powerful than the Baikal one.
“The construction of a pulp mill will definitely have a negative impact on the environment of the Vologda and Yaroslavl regions. Wood residues, cellulose fibers, which accumulate as a powerful layer of organic matter at the bottom of water bodies, are decomposed. This will lead to the death of vegetation and animals. This is especially manifested in reservoirs with high-quality water, where the minimum change in composition has a negative effect, like on Lake Baikal, ”wrote last year the governor of the Yaroslavl Region Dmitry Kobylkin. At the “government hour,” the minister mentioned that the governor of one region (no names were mentioned, but it is clear from the context that this refers to the head of the Vologda region, Oleg Kuvshinnikov) favors the construction of a pulp and paper mill, and the other (Yaroslavl) is against.
The Governor of the Yaroslavl Region in his letter emphasized that the project “Improvement of the Volga” had been previously brought to the government within the framework of the national project “Ecology”. The sum of expenses for preserving the ecology of the river was more than 200 billion rubles. Half of the funds will be taken from the budget, and the other will be provided by private investors. The pulp complex is a kind of shot in the leg that will destroy everything that will be done to rid the Volga of harmful emissions.
The scale of the enterprise is also striking: Sudsky Pulp and Paper Mill (its construction is in question) positions itself as the largest in all of Europe. At peak times, the Baikal Pulp and Paper Mill closed in 2013 produced more than 200 thousand tons of pulp per year. The pulp and paper mill in the Vologda region will produce 1.3 million tons per year - six times more. To understand the scale: the area of Baikal is 31.7 thousand square kilometers, while the Rybinsk reservoir is only 4.5 thousand square kilometers.
In an interview with the Daily Storm, the director of environmental programs of the All-Russian public organization Green Patrol, Roman Pukalov, also added that the Rybinsk reservoir suffers from numerous industries:
“The Rybinsk reservoir is an unnatural reservoir with a very low current, with great siltation and small depth. If we compare Lake Baikal with the Rybinsk reservoir, then the second is a small puddle. The Baikal Pulp and Paper Mill, with the consequence of which they are still struggling, caused damage to a huge ecosystem that has natural self-purification. The reservoir in the Vologda region does not have such opportunities. The level of anthropogenic load on it is extremely high. First of all, this is an industrial unit located not far from Cherepovets, chemical production, metallurgical production - all this causes enormous damage. The construction of a pulp mill will finally kill the reservoir. ”
According to the head of the Vologda branch of the Public Environmental Control of Russia (OECD), Alexey Koscheev, Mordashov plans to raise not his own money for the construction of the plant, but Finnish investors.
“In Finland, according to our information, environmental legislation is becoming tougher and a large part of the Central Committee is preparing for closure there. And they found this option: to build a giant plant here, here. To do redistribution of bleached pulp, something that was at the BPPM and was ultimately closed, and the pulp itself will be sent to Finland, where paper will be made from it, ”shared Koscheev.
The cooperation of the SVEZA group with the Finns is vividly confirmed: the Finnish Valmet - the association of heavy industry enterprises - in September 2018 concluded a partnership agreement with a Russian company. Valmet is the only supplier of equipment for the workshops of the Vologda Combine.
In an interview with the Daily Storm in November 2018, representatives of the SVEZA corporation reported that the pulp and paper mill project is undergoing two environmental reviews at once: the first is conducted by a Russian company, OOO Frecom, and the second by international ERM.
“Also another international body will be another controlling body. After all, in order for the project to receive loans from foreign banks, it must meet the highest international standards and requirements, ”the SVEZA press service reported. Wastewater and emissions treatment systems, which will be installed on the pulp and paper mill, the company representatives named the best in the world.