A Setback for Russia's Lake Baikal

Four years ago, Vladimir Putin surprised environmentalists by saving Lake Baikal from an oil export pipeline that would have run within a kilometer of its northern shore. The Russian president announced on national television an abrupt pipeline diversion 40 kilometers farther north that would cost state-owned Transneft nearly $1 billion. Pointing a red pen at Lake Baikal on a giant map, Putin said, “If there is even the smallest, the tiniest chance of polluting Baikal, then we must think of future generations and we must do everything to make sure this danger is not just minimized, but eliminated.”

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