Wildlife and environment
Natural resources watchdog to conduct surprise inspections on sea shelf and in protected areas
© RIA Novosti. Vera Kostamo

Natural resources watchdog to conduct surprise inspections on sea shelf and in protected areas

The Russian Government has supported amendments to nature protection laws introduced by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of environmental monitoring during construction, the press service of the Ministry of Natural Resources said in a statement.

At the February 16 Government meeting, Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergei Donskoi presented a draft federal law amending the federal law on environmental protection and a number of regulations in order to enhance the effectiveness of federal state environmental supervision during construction and major upgrades, as well as increase responsibility for violating the applicable environmental requirements.

The draft law pursues two objectives. The first has to do with improving supervision over compliance with environmental requirements during construction and renovation. According to Mr. Donskoi, efforts by the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources when it comes to environmental supervision over construction and renovation work conducted on the shelf, inland sea waters and territorial waters, specially protected areas and on artificial land plots lack efficiency, since they are conducted just once every three years and without taking into account the specific nature of construction.

"According to the draft law, state environmental supervision should be carried out under the same model as state construction supervision, when inspections are undertaken based on notifications received by the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources regarding the start or completion of construction, as well as the correction of previously identified violations," the minister pointed out.

He went on to say that the draft law's second goal was to strengthen administrative liability for failing to comply with orders to rectify violations identified earlier as part of federal environmental supervision.

The failure to comply with an order issued by government bodies in charge of federal environmental supervision is currently punishable by a fine from RUB 10,000 to RUB 20,000 for legal entities, while fines for failing to comply with a legitimate order by a government body in charge of export, anti-trust control or veterinary supervision range from RUB 200,000 to RUB 500,000.

"We propose making fines proportionate to the penalties envisaged by the relevant articles of the Administrative Offenses Code of the Russian Federation," Mr. Donskoi said.