According to assessment of Federal Service for Supervising Natural Resources (Rosprirodnadzor), the damage to water bodies was estimated at more than RUB 5 billion. There have been 1,780 oil spills incidents recorded. And how many spills that have been successfully concealed by enterprises? As a result we see huge environmental damage with 5,800 hectares of land contaminated only in the Siberian Federal District and 15,500 cbm of oil and products spilled in the Southern Federal District.
Overall, Russia's environmental resources watchdog said, last year the contaminated territory grew by 417 hectares. And such an increase in human-induced burden on the environment and consequently on the environment in Russia as a whole was expected, since there is not so far any clear system of laws, as well as delineation of areas of responsibility and control between the authorities responsible for environmental security. The presence of inconsistencies between alarm classifications of alarm level and the level of emergency oil spill leads to a mismatch in the system of state control and emergency response. Due to this, the order of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia, EMERCOM (12/28/2004, № 621) is not actually working. In particular, clause 12 of the order, which stipulates that "while organizations perform seasonal, periodic or one-time works, when the risk of emergencies is very high, territorial bodies of the Russian Emergencies Ministry, they are required to provide OSR plans OSR corresponding to levels of possible emergency situations. Given the specificity of such works Russian Emergencies Ministry is entitled to determine during its approvals a simplified procedures for agreed formalities. The validity of such plans is limited by the timing of this type of work. As a result, as PortNews reports, enterprises can not provide to supervisors any developed / approved oil spill response plans, let alone the operations financial support.
We see that regulatory relief of requirements to dangerous installations becomes more common. In accordance with the Federal Law dated March 4, 2013 (№ 22-FZ) "On Amendments to the Federal Law "On Industrial Safety of Hazardous Industrial Facilities the commodity storage facilities and flammable liquids bases of storage capacity less than 1,000 tonnes are not assigned a hazard class and, as a consequence, they do not fall within the category of hazardous industrial facilities. The facilities with storage capacity of less 1,000 tonnes do not also fall under the category of hazardous ones. In order to avoid a hazardous facility class notation some entrepreneurs distribute stocks of flammable liquids and other hazardous substances for storage between several warehouses, or understate its actual volumes. Thus, these organizations opt out of registration in the State Register of hazardous facilities, are not required to develop OSR plans to fulfill the requirements established for the hazardous facilities by the Russian Government's Decree dated 08.21.08. (No 613) "On urgent measures to prevent and eliminate oil and oil products spills" and of April 15, 2002 № 240 "On the order of actions for prevention and elimination of oil spills in the Russian Federation." Due to the relief of the requirements for hazardous facilities many objects were removed from the area of responsibility of the state control agencies that remain to be dangerous to the environment, but are not hazardous industrial facilities in accordance with the law №116-FZ "On industrial safety of hazardous industrial facilities" (Rostekhnadzor).
At the same time, these facilities do not fall within and the rules and regulations of the Federal Law 12.21.1994 No 68-FZ "On protection of population and territories from emergency situations of natural and man-made disasters" (Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Emergency Situations). There is an urgent need to amend the law to clarify many concepts, including such as "potentially hazardous objects" and "hazardous production facilities" in connection with their essential difference, and to differentiate in this respect the powers of Rostekhnadzor, Rosprirodnadzor and the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia, and to coordinate their interaction. The report also shows that the level of preparedness of emergency response units tasked to carry out rescue work at hazardous production facilities does not match the level of emerging risks. And it is not possible as there are no statutory requirements for such units, with no clear system of certification of such a specific activity? A large number of "firms" have emerged recently that do not even have their own rescue equipment and full-time rescuers. Such 'fly-by-night' tiny firms win in bidding process submitting the lowest possible tender and the price pleases very much customer companу whose executives do not realize that these firms will not be able to ensure adequate safety and responsibility in accordance with the law the head of company will eventually be called to accounts if any incidents occur. Finally, what is most surprising is that the work for elimination of oil spills are not types of rescue operations. It turns out that the ecological safety situation in the country is not quite well. ECOSPAS had brought up all these questions at the round table meeting in the State Duma back in December 2014, at a meeting in the Murmansk regional parliament and plans to address the issue at other public events.
The commentary provided by IAA PortNews.