Preservation of lake Baikal
The highest authorities of the Russian Federation introduced certain measures to help preserve Baikal in 2012. Russian President D. A. Medvedev, after a meeting on tourism in the Northern Caucasus of March 11, 2012, signed a series of directives for the Russian Federation government, the Republic of Buryatia and Irkutskaya Oblast. They were tasked with presenting initiatives for expanding the special Baikal Harbor economic zone and changing the law to allow for the creation of infrastructure necessary for Baikal Harbor in the BNP and for its residents. OJSC Gazprom was tasked with expediting gas delivery to Baikal Harbor.
President Medvedev discussed preservation and the environment on March 15, 2012, at the session of the Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights held in Novokuybyshevsk, Samarskaya Oblast. Many council members, ecologists and representatives of environmentalist organizations attended. I. I. Maximova, Secretary of the Scientific Council on Baikal, of the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, spoke in favor of shutting down the special Baikal economic zone. She gave President Medvedev arguments developed by the Social Council on the Environment of the Government of Irkutskaya oblast. The Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Y. P. Trutnev, presented the Ministry’s position as follows: “We believe the Baikal special economic zone should gradually be closed.” President Medvedev replied that shutting down or restructuring the zone needed to be considered. The original plan for it was followed on balance, but the interests of people living in Baikalsk were also taken into account. He accepted the letter from the Council on the Environment, signed by its Chairman, Academician M. I. Kuzmin. Y. P. Trutnev and I. I. Shuvalov were tasked with reporting on implementation of the previously passed measures.
On April 2, 2012, the Inter-Department Commission on Preservation of Lake Baikal had its fourth meeting, chaired by Y. P. Trutnev, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment. The following topics were discussed:
- implementation of legislation for lake protection;
- the special Federal program “Preservation of Lake Baikal and the Socio-Economic Development of the Baikal Natural Preserve in 2012-2020”;
- state environmental monitoring of Lake Baikal and the BNP, digital publishing of information related to the protection of Baikal.
The Commission is a coordination agency within the executive branch of Federal Government, created according to article 15 of Federal law no. 94-FZ, “On Preservation of Lake Baikal,” effective May 1, 1999, and pursuant to paragraph 2 of the August 29, 2006 order No. 1205-r by the Russian Federation Government, to ensure collaboration between the agencies responsible for protecting the lake.