The State Duma Committee on Ecology, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection will consider the issue of excluding the rule on clear-cutting from the bill on the protection of Lake Baikal. This instruction was made at a meeting in Ulan-Ude by State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin, reported press service of the lower house of parliament.
“We see that the concept of clear-cutting causes great criticism. This norm requires adjustment, we need to study this issue and find another solution,” Volodin said at a meeting on legislative initiatives on the protection of Lake Baikal.
The speaker of the State Duma called on the committee for the second reading of the bill to “find a solution that would protect us from hasty steps.”
On July 12, the State Duma adopted amendments to the laws “On the Protection of Lake Baikal” and “On Environmental Expertise” in the first reading. According to the text of the explanatory note, sanitary clear-cutting of forests in the Baikal natural territory will be permitted until the end of 2030 for seven reasons. Among them are the construction of roads, “temporary accommodation facilities, public catering and consumer services,” toilets, mudflow protection and other hydraulic structures. The bill is accompanied by a list of 75 plots with cadastral numbers where it is possible to cut down and build hydraulic structures.
In August 2023, meetings were held in the Irkutsk region and Buryatia with the participation of parliamentarians, representatives of the scientific and expert community, as a result of which amendments to the bill were developed. The Human Rights Council later stated that the changes do not yet allow us to completely eliminate the risks of negative impacts on Lake Baikal.
In September, the head of the Human Rights Council Valery Fadeev sent a letter to Volodin with a request to postpone the adoption of the bill in the second reading. He called for an additional independent scientific assessment of the consequences of the adoption of the document and to discuss the results of such an assessment with representatives of civil society.