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Russia: Indigenous peoples protest against Sakhalin oil, gas projects

YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, January 21 (Itar-Tass) - Representatives of indigenous peoples blocked more than 100 pieces of heavy machinery in Sakhalin on Friday to protest against local oil and gas projects. Tank and pipe trucks amassed on a road to a coastal oil terminal construction site in north Sakhalin.

The temperatures are 30 degrees below zero, Centigrade, and the protesters made a big bonfire for truck drivers and themselves to get warm.

The U.S. Exxon Company, an operator of the Sakhalin 1 project for which the oil terminal is being built, has refused to send a representative for negotiations with the protesters, head of the Sakhalin Greens organization Andrei Nagibin said. The protesters were told to apply to the main office of Exxon Neftegaz Ltd. in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.

The protesters demand assessment of the impact of oil and gas projects on the environment and their traditional lifestyle. The demands are listed in a memorandum, which indigenous people offer oil developers to sign.

Editorial Notes: Sakhalin is an island controlled since 1945 by Russia, off it's east coast, and directly above Japan. Here's map of the proposed projects from the Exxon affiliated developer's website: Source: www.sakhalin1.com/en -AF

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