Posted 20 августа 2021,, 06:28

Published 20 августа 2021,, 06:28

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

Fine or rip-off. Why do we need objective arithmetic in assessing techno disasters

Fine or rip-off. Why do we need objective arithmetic in assessing techno disasters

20 августа 2021, 06:28
Environmental disasters in recent years have raised the question in Russia - how is the damage done to the biosphere considered? Taimyr, Kamchatka, the Black Sea have shown that we do not have a unified formula.

Different departments of one state give calculations that diverge at times. Incomprehensible rules provoke businesses to look for workarounds.

In early August, oil was released in the Novorossiysk port, six kilometers from the Black Sea coast while refueling a Greek tanker. The cause of the accident was the resolution of the internal cavity of the hydraulic compensator of the outboard mooring device in the terminal of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC).

Initially, it was reported that the area of contamination was 200 square meters, but later the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IKI RAS) looked at satellite images and reported that the amount of damage was underestimated by 400 thousand times (!).

Rosprirodnadzor, on behalf of Deputy Prime Minister Viktoria Abramchenko, initiated its own check, including on the dissemination of information about the underestimated scale of the spill, and the Investigative Committee announced the initiation of a criminal case under Part 1 of Art. 252 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (pollution of the marine environment).

Various departments have previously estimated the damage from the release of oil into the sea: the " fork " turned out to be scattered: from several hundred thousand to 5 billion rubles. To determine the amount of the fine, it is necessary to establish the exact amount of fuel that has entered the water, said Rosprirodnadzor. The CPC version - about 10 tons - was contrasted with visual images from the IKI RAN satellite, which estimated the spill volume at about 5000 tons (this is like a full load of a small tanker).

CPC General Director Nikolay Gorban then said that the company understands its responsibility, closely interacts with Rosprirodnadzor and carries out product expertise in order to file a defect claim with the equipment supplier.

The Russian state takes a serious approach to assessing the damage and consequences of man-made disasters, and this is the correct and timely reaction of the authorities, given the environmental challenges facing the planet now and how the state of the environment affects our lives. Polluted - pay for the restoration of the environment - an undeniable position. However, there is a huge problem of trust in the state about fines. The problem is that the approach to damage assessment is not unified. The calculations of different departments can differ at times, it turns out an interesting arithmetic - who will count whom. The perpetrator companies have a strong impression that the sanctions are being applied to them not to compensate for damage from an environmental disaster, but as a pretext under which one can come and take everything that can be taken from the business, says a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, Honored Worker of the Fisheries of the Russian Federation and Honorary Fish Breeder of Russia Alexander Belousov.

The main confirmation of this is the inappropriate distribution of fines, they simply dissolve in the treasury. The head of the Ministry of Natural Resources himself last year (in an interview with RBC) disclosed that only 2% of environmental fines go to projects related to environmental protection.

If the built system of collecting fines really pursued as its goal the restoration of biological resources, then, for example, after the disaster of 2020 in Taimyr, it would be more effective to introduce a temporary ban on fishing, and the money converted into fines could be paid to fisheries for lost profits. But they don’t undertake to ponder over such complex chains, the expert says.

In addition to this, there is no effective and universally recognized forensic environmental expertise in Russia that would help get rid of discrepancies when resolving such cases.

“It is worth noting that business entities in Russia always recognize the fact of damage if the consequences of their activities have caused harm to nature. At the same time, almost everyone always strives to challenge his assessment. Unfortunately, in Russia there is still no effective and working mechanism to establish the truth. The arbitration court, in which such claims are usually considered, is obviously able to understand economic issues, but not in the subtleties, for example, the calculation of fish resources. As a result, we get court decisions based on subjective assessments, born in the struggle of expert opinions, ”comments Belousov.

As a result of this unsettledness, both sides go to extremes. Companies in plain sight underestimate the amount of damage as much as the paper will tolerate, even if it is obvious to everyone that this is an underestimation by hundreds and thousands of times. The injured party - as a rule, these are state structures and administrations of cities and regions, first of all, they consider disasters as a suddenly found treasure, an inexhaustible source for replenishing budgets.

As a result, record-breaking calculations appear in the examinations - it turns out that the fauna and flora have died as many as were never found in these places. Costs to cover damages are added to lost profits or lost profits by the industry, where the discrepancies are even wider.

“In the claim of Rosrybolovstvo against Norilsk Nickel, the physical damage of 8.89 thousand tons of aquatic biological resources, which was estimated for the reservoirs of the Norilo-Pyasinsk lake-river system after the fuel spill, is a very large value. These figures are comparable only with the losses of the Ob-Irtysh basin in connection with the construction of the port of Sabetta. However, if we compare the sizes of these reservoirs, we will see that in Lake Pyasino there is no such amount of fish as counted in the Federal Agency for Fishery .

Even more perplexing is the assessment of fish productivity for the affected water bodies, which, according to experts, was 119 kg / ha. She looks fantastic. Note that in the water bodies of the Far North this indicator is 1 kg / ha, the limit is 2 kg / ha. In Astrakhan, the best figures are 36-40 kg / ha. If in Pyasino there would be such a fish productivity, as the colleagues calculated, because of the abundance of fish, water would not be visible! ”- comments Belousov.

Man-made accidents, unfortunately, are inevitable in the industrial world, which, of course, does not negate the obligation to make maximum efforts to eliminate the risks of their occurrence.

However, speculation on this topic, when it is not objective calculations of damage that come first, but the trickery and exploitation of legal intricacies, are also dangerous - for the business climate of the country and for society as a whole. Incorrect calculations reduce business confidence in the government and force them to sort out gray schemes, this is at best. In the worst case - to leave the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation. When islands or foreign names and states appear in the majority shareholdings of strategic Russian companies, which care least, if at all, about the ecological situation in Russia, a second catastrophe ensues.