It Didn't Even Take a Year!

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In August 2008, the Ecological Society Green Salvation asked the company Karachaganak Petroleum Operating B.V. (KPO) for the results of its environmental monitoring in 2002-2008. According to the Environmental Code of the Republic of Kazakhtan, the public has the right to receive such information from users of natural resources.

In its response, KPO recommended appealing to the state agencies that are required to distribute environmental information.

Following the company’s advice, Green Salvation sent a similar request to the Western Kazakhstan Oblast Department of Environmental Protection. At the same time, a letter was sent to the public prosecutor’s office of Western Kazakhstan Oblast, requesting clarification of the corresponding articles of the Environmental Code.

In October, the department of environmental protection replied that they lacked the technical capability to transfer the requested information, and suggested that we meet with them at their offices in Uralsk. The prosecutor’s office explained that the requirements of the Environmental Code were mandatory for exploiters of natural resources, and that providing the results of environmental monitoring was their obligation, not their right. Armed with these responses from authorized government bodies, Green Salvation sent a second request to KPO.

In December, a reply arrived. The company suggested that a representative of Green Salvation visit their office in Aksai, in order to acquaint themselves with the requested information on the spot, since “verifying and copying the enormous volume of information requested by you in your letter would require significant resources, which KPO does not possess at the present time” (Letter from KPO CE/out/0207, Dec. 6, 2008).

In March 2009 a solution to the situation was found. Taking KPO’s limited resources into account, the leader of an initiative group of residents from the village of Berezovka, located next to the Karachaganak field, agreed to visit KPO’s offices on Green Salvation’s behalf and acquaint herself with the relevant information. The company was informed in writing of this plan.

In May, members of the initiative group visited KPO. However, after an hour-long conversation with company representatives, they still failed to provide the information, citing the large number of documents involved, and saying that they would need to be polished up first.

Finally, in June 2009 a letter arrived from KPO containing the requested information, which fit easily onto an ordinary compact disk.

Although people say that one might wait three years for a promise to be fulfilled, in the case of KPO we only needed to wait ten months!

Details of correspondence, in chronological order (in Russian).

HUMAN RIGHTS / An Oil Democracy, or the Story of Berezovka

Translated by Glenn Kempf