August 11, 2011

Posted by: Amberly Polidor, Posted in: Action Alert, Asia, Energy – via Sacred Land Film Project » News & Blog.

Ukok Plateau guardian stones in the Altai mountains of Russia. © 2010 Christopher McLeodA global campaign is under way to help the Telengit Indigenous People of Russia’s Altai Republic reroute construction of a natural-gas pipeline that would cross the sacred Ukok Plateau on its journey from Siberia to China.

This high plateau in the Altai Mountains has been a sacred burial ground for at least 8,000 years. Today, the Telengit people carry out their ancient rituals on the Ukok amid the burial mounds, stone stellae, and petroglyphs of their ancestors.

As SLFP reported in April, the 1,700-mile pipeline would cut through the heart of the Golden Mountains of Russia’s Altai Republic, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a region of sacred significance to the Telengit people.

The Telengit say the pipeline would destroy many of their sacred monuments. It would also inflict environmental damage to the World Heritage site, threaten endangered species such as the snow leopard, and damage the plateau’s permafrost, hastening the melting of nearby glaciers. They say the pipeline would also cause economic harm: The Telengit practice free-range animal husbandry, fishing and hunting, and are developing cultural and ecological tourism — and pipeline construction, contamination, and the melting of the permafrost will affect their economic activities and thus their sources of food and livelihood.

Talks between Russia and China over an export agreement had been stalled for years over price, but the two countries are reportedly very close to signing a deal, and Gazprom’s CEO said after the annual shareholders’ meeting in July, “We are completely ready to begin pipeline construction.”

via Sacred Land Film Project » News & Blog.