Kemerovo, Russia Fines Cherkinskaya Coal Over River Pollution
30 Jan 2013 - 01:00 by OOSKAnews Correspondent
Russia, KEMEROVO — A mining company in the remote Kemerovo region of Russia has been fined $666,000 USD for causing massive environmental damage by consistently releasing untreated industrial wastewater into a river.
The relatively large fine reflects the fact that the pollution had been going on for many years, despite previous unenforced judgments against the mining company, Cherkinskaya Coal. The mine is located in a distant part of Siberia, and there is no major population center nearby.
It was precisely because there were so few people in the area that the mine did not clean its waste before dumping it into the river. On previous occasions when the company has been prosecuted for pollution, it has appealed endlessly against the decisions.
However, the recent increase in concern about the environment in Russia meant that the attention of the regional environmental prosecutor was drawn to the mine and its illegal practices. A stronger case was drawn up and clear signals sent to Cherkinskaya that the pollution must now end.
A press release from the prosecutor’s office states that the fine has been carefully pitched at a level that reflects both the level of environmental damage caused over the years and the profitability of the company, which currently makes a great deal of money from the Kemerovo mine.
For its part, Cherkinskaya has not appealed the result of this latest court case and have accepted the fine, despite it being higher than comparable cases in other regions of Russia.
Most significantly, the company has announced the construction of new wastewater collector tanks and a treatment plant at the mine. Once these are operational, they will remove the source of pollution and facilitate the beginning of a cleanup operation in the affected area.
The Kemerovo case is an example of how the increased environmental awareness that has been emanating from the Kremlin just in the past few years is having effects in the remote parts of Russia.