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June 10, 2008

Head of METROPOL Group of Companies M. Slipenchuk took part in a press conference staged by the Fund for Protection of Lake Baikal

The press conference of the Fund for Protection of Lake Baikal took place in the Russian New and Information Agency Novosti on June 10, 2008. President of the Fund, Deputy of State Duma of the Russian Federation deputy and Russian Academy of Sciences corresponding member A. Chilingarov; President of the Guardianship Board of the Fund, Head of METROPOL Group M. Slipenchuk, President of the Technical Board of the Fund, Head of laboratory of manned submersibles of P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology of Russian Academy of Science A. Sagalevitch, member of the Supervisory Board of the Fund, Director of Baikal Nature Management Institute of Siberian branch of Russian Academy of Science A. Tulokhonov and member of the Supervisory Board of the Fund, Deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation V. Gruzdev took part in the press conference.
The press conference featured a presentation by members of Fund for Protection of Lake Baikal, which was founded in 2008 on the initiative of the METROPOL Group of Companies. Press conference participants reported details about the Fund’s structure, and spoke of the goals and objectives of its operations. A. Chilingarov noted that the Fund’s primary objectives include ensuring all-inclusive support for Lake Baikal’s protection and preservation, conducting scientific research aimed at preserving the lake, assisting in creating environmentally-benign technologies, and drawing the public’s attention to this unique nature site.
Press conference participants revealed details about a number of major socioeconomic and scientific events planned by the Fund. Especial attention was devoted to the scientific research expedition “Mir” on Baikal”, which will take place in 2008-2009. About 60 deepwater submersions to the bottom of Lake Baikal are planned in 2008 for the manned submersibles “Mir”, which will be staging a series of comprehensive lake monitoring programs.
Sagalevich told the press conference attendants about the technical aspects of the upcoming expedition. A. Tulokhonov reported on the latest environmental situation in the Baikal region. He especially underscored that one of the Fund’s primary objectives rests in ensuring that state authorities receive a sound environmental education while the general public becomes broadly aware of environmental issues. Speaking about the expedition itself, Tulokhonov noted that the information gathered in the course of the event – including that concerning the reserves of hydrocarbons resting at the bottom of the lake – would hold tremendous scientific and economic value.
M. Slipenchuk told about the problem of environmental liability held by business, particularly by businesses with economic interests in the Baikal region. He also revealed that the expedition would cost $6 million. At the moment, the expedition is sponsored by the METROPOL Group of Companies. However, press conference participants expressed hope that soon other major representatives of business would join this project, which is pursuing exclusively noble goals. “It is time for professionals to come to Baikal,” — M. Slipenchuk noted.


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