Armen Ashotyan: Problem of Teghout is mechanism used to create public tension

Armen Ashotyan: Problem of Teghout is mechanism used to create public tension

ArmInfo

Problems of environment are prior to any country. However, It seems to me that it is dangerous going too far, says Armen Ashtoyan, Minister of Education and Science of Armenia, on his personal page on Facebook.

"Without going into details regarding some environmental actions, I'd just say that they are too dramatized, pompous and inadequate to the core of the problems raised," he said. Ashotyan said that the Teghout problem is just a mechanism that is used to create public tension for upcoming political insinuations. "Let's wait and see," the minister says.

As for the felling of over 300ha of woods for development of the Teghout deposit, these figures did not impress Ashotyan. In response to the question of ArmInfo's correspondent, the minister said: "I am concerned over felling, indeed, but not in Teghout. But your data are unverified, I think. The journalists who visited Teghout were shown how many trees will be cut. It is much less than you have mentioned." Suffice it to say that felling of 375ha of forest in Teghout is the official data of the Vallex Group Company that stands for development of the deposit. It is noteworthy that no official has so far cast
doubt on this figure or called it exaggerated. 

As for the stance of environmentalists on the given problem, Head of the Union of the Greens Hakob Sanasaryan, in particular, has declared that yet in 2003 when Teghout deposit development project was not approved, the documents mentioned that 2500ha of woods were to be felled.  In 2 years that figure was mysteriously reduced to 1970ha and then to 1400 ha. Such strange mathematics became possible after the company left out the bushes in the Teghout forest of the felling project. 

As regards "creation of certain public tension", suffice it so say that in the autumn of 2010 the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee passed a resolution saying that Armenia as a party to the Convention failed to fulfill certain of its commitments.  The Teghout project was in question. The project violates the public right to participate in the government decision- making and to settle the issue legally. It would be strange supposing that the given decision that directly applies to Teghout was made by the Committee for "political insinuations."

The government in Nov 2007 approved project of exploitation of the Teghout copper and molybdenum mine.  As it was reported earlier, the project submitted to the government did not properly show the environment impact assessment.

A protest action against development of Teghout copper-molybdenum deposit was held in Teghout on Jan 15. Over 200 people (green activists, politicians and men of culture) from Yerevan, Vanadzor and Gyumri expressed their protest against the ore-mining project. Afterwards on Jan 27 the project was discussed in Moscow.

To recall, the public organizations have been actively fighting against the development of Teghout deposit since 2007.  Environmentalists say that the project will not only have a destructive effect on the environment of the region (357 ha of forests will be cut), but will also have a positive impact on the
health of the residents of the nearby populated areas.  Many of the plants and animals in Teghout are included in the International Red Book.

16:54 February 17, 2012


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