Socio-ecological Union
March 14, 2005
To: His Excellency Junichiro Koizumi
Office of the Prime Minister of Japan
Cabinet Secretariat
1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo 100-8914 JAPAN
Fax: +81-3-3581-3883

Your Excellency:

We, the undersigned organizations, respectfully request that you, the Prime Minister of Japan, and your Cabinet urge the Russian Federation and the Russian oil transport company Transneft to reconsider their plan to build an oil pipeline through the seismically active Severomuisky Range near Lake Baikal to the pristine Perevoznaya Bay on the Amur Bay in Southwest Primorsky Krai. We do not all necessarily oppose construction of a pipeline to the Sea of Japan; however, we do all strongly oppose its route through fragile ecosystems in the Lake Baikal basin and in Southwest Primorsky Krai as well as its terminal in Perevoznaya Bay.

The proposed terminal site in Perevoznaya Bay, within the greater Amur Bay, is the worst possible place in the Russian Far East to locate an oil terminal and refinery for many reasons.

Perevoznaya Bay is an extremely open bay, and in the event of an oil spill, water currents will carry oil over a wide area. In Perevoznaya, the high volume of tanker traffic between the area’s many islands during the windy storm season greatly increases the probability of a major oil spill. The water near Perevoznaya is shallow, and oil tankers traveling to and from Perevoznaya will have to navigate past a string of small islands at the mouth of the Amur Bay to reach it. The Khasansky area, where the Perevoznaya Bay is situated, is also a critical economic zone for recreation, aquaculture, and fisheries. The local population is reliant on those economies and so is strongly opposed to the construction of an oil terminal nearby, as evidenced in recent public hearings. Oil spills in the Amur Bay would threaten to pollute:

• The most popular beaches and tourist resorts in Primorsky Krai, visited by tens of thousands of tourists annually;
• The coasts of the city of Vladivostok, located directly opposite Perevoznaya in the Amur Bay;
• Primorsky Krai’s main commercial aquaculture farms and important fish spawning grounds, on which local Russian fishermen are economically dependent; and
• The Far East Marine Biosphere Reserve: the only protected marine area in Russia and home to large populations of marine mammals and seabirds. The Far Eastern Marine Reserve is home to vast amounts of marine biodiversity and provides spawning grounds for species including sea cucumbers and pollock that migrate throughout the Sea of Japan. Oil spilled en route to Perevoznaya could potentially reach the Marine Reserve within a matter of hours.

The Transneft pipeline, if routed to Perevoznaya, would run along or through two protected land areas in southwest Primorsky Krai: Barsovy Wildlife Refuge and Kedrovaya Pad Nature Preserve. Kedrovaya Pad is Russia’s oldest preserve and was recently awarded the status of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Southwest Primorsky Krai is one of Russia’s richest regions in terms of biodiversity: it is home to thirty percent of Russia’s endangered “Red List” species, including the Amur tiger and the Amur leopard, which has been recognized by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as critically endangered. With a remaining population of around thirty, the Amur leopard is one of the rarest cats on earth. Negative impacts from an oil pipeline connecting to a terminal in southwest Primorsky Krai through the leopard’s only habitat may well lead to its extinction.

There are viable alternatives to the current planned route which would mitigate a number of the pipeline’s dangers. These alternatives are superior to Perevoznaya both economically and from an environmental perspective.

An alternative site for the pipeline terminal is Nakhodka Bay, an active industrial port with existing oil terminals. Were the terminal to be located in Nakhodka Bay, no protected areas would be threatened, and because Nakhodka Bay is more enclosed than Perevoznaya, there would be significantly less danger of oil spills spreading via ocean currents. Locating the pipeline terminal in the already-developed port of Nakhodka would also be more cost-effective than building a new terminal in Perevoznaya. An important benefit of locating the terminal in Nakhodka is improved safety for oil transportation in the Sea of Japan. Nakhodka’s port does not yet meet best international standards for oil transportation safety. The people of Japan suffered from this when the vessel “Nakhodka” spilled oil near western Japan in 1997. A port with best international safety practices would not have allowed such a decrepit ship to load and transport oil. Nakhodka’s port is an accident waiting to happen. The Transneft pipeline will create significant investment for the Nakhodka port that would dramatically improve shipping safety throughout the Sea of Japan.

We are also concerned about the current plan to route the pipeline through an extremely seismic area north of Siberia’s Lake Baikal. In its proposed route through the Severomuisky Range, the pipeline could be ruptured in earthquakes, landslides, mudflows, and other geological events which would cause both considerable economic losses and irreversible pollution of the Lake Baikal watershed. It is paramount that the Prime Minister only support a pipeline route that does not unnecessarily threaten people’s livelihoods and fragile natural areas.

The Japanese government has the ability and responsibility to ensure that the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline is built according to best international environmental standards, does not cause unnecessary environmental harm, and improves oil transportation safety in the Sea of Japan. Since Japan will be a primary investor in the pipeline, we believe that you should act now to make certain the project is compliant with best practices.

We ask you to advise Russia publicly that Japan will proceed with the pipeline project only with full consideration of all possible environmental and sociological risks, the two greatest environmental risks being the location of the pipeline terminal in Perevoznaya Bay in Southwest Primorsky Krai and the construction of the pipeline through the seismically active area north of Lake Baikal. Improving both the pipeline route and safety standards will translate into greater financial security for the pipeline's financiers, which will include the Japanese government and Japanese banks.

The pipeline’s planned path through Severomuisky Range and terminal in Perevoznaya Bay would needlessly threaten fragile ecosystems as well as rare and endangered species, including the nearly extinct Amur leopard. We, the undersigned, call upon you and your cabinet to act immediately to make the Transneft pipeline a safer project for the environment and for Northeast Asia as a whole.


Phoenix Fund
Sergei Bereznuk, Director
Office 409, 2 Petra Velikogo Street, Vladivostok 690091 Russia
Tel: +7(4232)20-50-48, 20-50-53;

Friends of the Earth Japan
Eiichiro Y. Noguchi, Program Director
2nd fl. 3-17-24 Mejiro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo 171-0031 Japan
Tel : +81-3-3951-1081; Fax : +81-3-3951-1084;

Pacific Environment
David Gordon, Executive Director
311 California St., Ste 650, San Francisco, CA 94104 USA
Tel: +1(415) 399-8850 ext. 301, Fax: +1(415) 399-8860;

World Wildlife Fund Japan
Hidenori Kusakari, Asst. Director, Conservation & Environmental Education Division
Nihonseimei Akabanebashi Bldg. 6Fl. 3-1-14 Shiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0014 Japan
Tel:+81-3-3769-1772 Fax:+81-3-3769-1717;

World Wildlife Fund Russia
Igor Chestin, Ph.D., Director
Nikoloyamskaya 19, Bldg 3, Moscow 109240 Russia
Tel/Fax: +7(095)727-0939;

Greenpeace Russia
Ivan Blokov, Ph.D., Campaign Director
Moscow GSP-4, 125040 Russia
Tel: +7 095-2574116; Fax: +7 095-2574110;

American Zoo and Aquarium Association
Steve Olson, Director of Government Affairs
8403 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910 USA
Tel: 301-562-0777 x249;

AZA Amur Leopard Program
Chris Pfefferkorn, North American Regional Studbook Keeper; Chair, Population Management Plan
Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon Rd., Portland, OR 97221 USA
Tel: (503) 220-2444; Fax.: 503-226-0074

Zoo New England
John Linehan, President & CEO
One Franklin Park Road, Boston, MA 02121 USA
Tel: 617-989-2054; Fax: 617-989-2025;

Oregon Zoo
Tony Vecchio, Executive Director
4001 SW Canyon Rd., Portland, OR 97221 USA
Tel: 503-226-1561;

Green Cross, Far Eastern Branch
Alexander Malishev, Director
PO Box 12-16, 8-A Karaeva St., Vladivostok 690012 Russia
Tel: +7(4232)271-349; 271-051

Tigris Foundation
Michiel Hotte, Director
Laagtekadijk 135, Amsterdam 1018 ZD Netherlands
Tel/Fax: +31-20-6206274;

Resource Center Regional Activists Network (RC RAN)
The Living Sea Coalition (Russian Far East)
Anton Semyonov, Board Chairman RC RAN, Coordinator LSC-RFE
a\ya 91-246, Vladivostok 690091 Russia
Tel: +7(4232)20-53-15, 26-96-06

ISAR – Far East Social Resource Center
a\ya 91-246, Vladivostok 690091 Russia
Tel: +7(4232)20-53-15, 26-96-06

Baikal Environmental Wave
Marina Rikhvanova, co-chair
PO Box 21 Irkutsk 664033 Russia
Tel/Fax: +7 (395-2) 52-58-70;

Buryat Regional Organization on Lake Baikal (BRO)
Sergei Shapkhaev, Director
Klyuchevskaya Street, 40 "B", 670013 Russia
Tel/Fax: (301-2) 21-02-88.;,

Baikal Center for Public Environmental Initiatives (BCOEE)
Galina Borisovna Anosova, Director
Ul. Lenina 55, apt. 66. Ulan-Ude 670000 Russia
Tel: (3012) 4618 16; Fax: (3012) 21 02 88

Baikal Watch
Gary Cook, US Project Coordinator
300 Broadway, Suite 28, San Francisco, CA 94133 USA
Tel: (415) 788-3666 ext. 109; Fax: (415) 788-7324;

Zelyoniy Dom “Green House” Nonprofit Organization
Tatiana Korobenko, Director
Shevchenko 4, Khabarovsk 680000 Russia
Tel: 42-06-69, 42-06-68

Environmental Rights Center "Bellona"
Alexander Nikitin, Council Chair
PO Box 58, Saint-Petersburg 191028 Russia
Tel: +7 (812) 327 29 43; Fax: +7 (812) 273 62 57;

World Wildlife Fund United States, Bering Sea Ecoregion and Russia Projects
Margaret Williams, Director
1250 24th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037 USA;

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Russia
Dr. Maria Vorontsova, Director
Glebni Pereulok 19B, Moscow 121069 Russia
Tel: +7(095)933-3411;

Biodiversity Conservation Center
Tatiana Yanitskaya
ul. Vavilova d. 41, Office 2 Moscow 117312 Russia
Tel: (095) 124-50-22, 124-50-11; Tel/ Fax: (095) 124-71-78;

NGO "Sakhalin Environment Watch"
Dmitry V. Lisitsyn, Chairman
Office 301, 27a, Kommunisticheskiy St., Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, 693007 Russia
Tel/Fax: +7 4242 747518, 747519;

“Dauria” Ecological Center
Inga Zinovieva, Director
PO Box 1041, Chita 672090 Russia
Tel/Fax: +7(3022) 23-26-19;

Kamchatka League of Independent Experts
Olga Chernyagina, Executive Director
Partizanskaya str. 56 (Post: 683000 273), Petropavlovsk- Kamchatsky, Russia
Tel: (4152) 120 996; Fax: (4152) 120 747;

"Kaira Club" Chukotka Public Environmemtal Association
Gennady Smirnov, Chairman
PO Box 83, 16 Bering Street, Apt. 24, Anadyr 689000 Russia
Tel/Fax: +7 42722 20587

Tomsk Regional NGO "Institute of International Environmental Safety" (IIES)
Sergey Aushev, vice-chairman
PO Box 610, Tomsk 634040 Russia
Tel/Fax: +7 3822 413791

International Socio-Ecological Union
Sviatoslav Zabelin, Co-chairman of the Council
PO Box 211 Moscow 119019 Russia
Tel/Fax: +7(095) 963-54-20,;

Center for Russian Environmental Policy
Dr. Alexey Yablokov, President
Moscow, GSP-1 119991 Russia

Altai Foundation
Vyacheslav Trigubovich, President,
Timiryazeva St., 71/1, Novosibirsk, 630001 Russia
Tel: +7 3832-139107

Altai Conservancy
Karen K. Diop, Executive Director
2 Lincoln Corners, Woodstock, VT 05091 USA
Tel: (802) 457-4660;

Altai Assistance Project
Matthew Foley, US Coordinator
2351 County Route 10, Wadhams, New York 12993 USA
Tel: 518-962-4514

The Altai Project of the Center for Safe Energy
Susan Cutting, Project Director
93 Glasheen Road, Petersham, MA 01366 USA
Tel: 978-724-0079;

International Rivers Network
Patrick McCully, Executive Director
1847 Berkeley Way, Berkeley, CA 94703 USA
Tel: +510.848.1155; Fax: +510.848-1008;

Rainforest Information Centre
John Seed, Director
Box 368 Lismore, 2480 Australia
Tel: 61 2 66213294;

Totem Peoples Preservation Project
Daniel R. Plumley, Director
PO Box 746, Keene Valley, New York 12943 USA
Tel: (518) 576-4430,

Salinger Group, Inc.
Ruth A. Salinger, President; Member, Walden Woods Project Advisory Board
3 Crafts Road, Gloucester, MA 01930 USA

University of Maine Peace Studies Program; and, The Morgan Bay Zendo
Hugh Curran, Professor of Peace Studies
Rm 213 E. Annex, University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04469 USA

Mongolian Medicine Project
Sas Carey
248 Washington St. Ext., Middlebury, VT 05753 USA
Tel: 802-388-1301

Individual endorsement: National Officer, Alliance for Democracy
David W. Lewit, Ph.D.
Boston, MA USA
Tel: 617-266-8687

Individual endorsement: Professor of Geography
Dr. Kathleen Braden
Seattle Pacific University
Seattle, WA 98119 USA

Individual endorsement: Professor of Ecology
Evgeniy Kashkarov
Ecology Department, Altaiskiy University
Barnaul, Russia