New Bill to Pave Way for Cleanup in Arctic

Photo: Konykhov Nikolay/

New Bill to Pave Way for Cleanup in Arctic

All environmental charges payable to the federal and regional budgets in Russia will be spent exclusively on environment-related projects, the Government says. According to Vice-Premier Victoria Abramchenko, this is provided under an environment protection bill drafted by the Government, which is expected to be submitted to the Parliament for approval this autumn. As provided for under the bill, environmental charges such as pollution fees, environmental fines, compensatory payments etc. collected by respective agencies shall be specifically targeted to fund various environmental projects as per a list of priorities, with a major cleanup effort being the top priority.

Tougher regulations are needed in view of the fact that, currently, most regional authorities tend to spend money received from such payments on something other than protecting nature. Only 2% of 40 billion rubles paid by mining, manufacturing, energy generating and other companies within the last three years as environmental charges were allocated for nature protection. Such misuse of funds will be made impossible under the recently announced bill -- if it is approved by the federal legislature.

The draft provides that all such funds be spent on detecting sources of environmental damage (if any), assessing their impact and financing recovery efforts. If such sources are not present in the region or have already been dealt with, these funds shall be used for pollution prevention, improving environmental safety, resource management and restoration, and other purposes.

Passing the bill into law could be a huge step forward in terms of protecting the Arctic environment. For decades, industrial and communal waste has been accumulating in the Russian Arctic. Removing it is a tough logistical and financial challenge owing to the remoteness of the regions concerned. Experts believe that introducing the mentioned regulations will help address the SMW issue and enable launching a massive cleanup effort in the Russian High North.
Alexander Stotskiy
4 October 2021
Arctic Today