— Let's remind the readers backstory. There was 2014, when we were holding the "Oil Patrol" camp in Komi, in the Usinsk district. We tried to remove oil sludge from one of the barns in order to show that it was expensive to remove oil, and that it was better not to wait for oil spills, but to change pipes. Within the framework of the project, we, together with the Pechora rescue committee [public environmental organization], prepared 24 amendments to the federal legislation and regulatory framework. For example, the proposal to simplify the recording of oil spills in hard-to-reach areas where it is difficult to find witnesses.
The most important amendments, from my point of view, are those that are connected with the economic motivation of companies to prevent spills. This is the only thing that makes a company change its internal policy. What did we offer and still offer? First, toughen penalties for concealing information. Introduce a separate penalty for non-compliance with environmental regulations. Secondly, we proposed that the information on the spills was made complete and open, so that the data on each spill including area, volume, coordinates were publicly available. As a rough estimate, oil companies report only the first percent of spilled oil [more detail in an interview
with Vladimir Chuprov in 2016].
For today, as of December 2017, three out of more than 20 proposals have been adopted.
A proposal was made that the formation water [extracted together with oil and gas from the formation, and then separated] fell into the classification of waste. These are waters that are periodically discharged to the landscape. Sometimes they are scarier than oil, because there are such dangerous toxic substances as chlorides. In nature, they should not exist. They burn everything out. Previously, oil companies had been left out of responsibility for flooding of formation waters, because they were not in the waste classifier. In 2016, they appeared in the classifier.
We have achieved that on all offshore projects in the Arctic, in ice conditions, the training of emergency response plans should take place prior to drilling. In legislation until 2014, training could be done three years after the start of drilling. Now, oil companies must conduct drills to eliminate the accident before each new well. This is a useful thing.
Another good news that came a few weeks ago and that we have been seeking is an explanation of the Plenum of the Supreme Court on the order of compensation for environmental damage. Let's say, the company spill oil on the Kolva River in Komi in 2013. The company "Rusvietpetro" was supposed to compensate for environmental damage in the amount of 114 million rubles. Not everytning was removed. Of the 114 million rubles, 99 million company written off for the liquidation of the spill: contracts for the collection of oil, inventory. As a result, out of 114 million rubles of environmental damage, only 15 million rubles of "living money" got in the budget. But this means that the company removed about 90% of the oil, which, in my estimation, was not in sight!
Our proposal was that for all the oil left in nature, the company must pay with ready money. And the plenum of the Supreme Court recorded this.
Two more amendments were supported by the Ministry of Natural Resources, which agreed with our proposals to increase fines for concealing spills and impose penalties for non-compliance with environmental regulations. In addition, the government is considering our proposals for creating an information system in which the company would report for each spill on the oil pipeline.
But the story with these amendments lasts, unfortunately, not for the first year. Probably, we treaded on the right corn and got a "normal" reaction.