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Russian rafters call on Medvedev to stop Chibit Hydro

3 March 2012 Topics:

Chuya River  is one of sources of mighty Ob River, that starts in Altay Mountains near Russian border with China and Mongolia. Recently this river was sentenced to death by “Rushydro” Co. that plans to build here the first “small hydro” in Altay Mountains.  Given that this project was perceived as alternative to much bigger and dangerous Altaisky hydropower plant on Katun River, little criticism was voiced by environmental groups.  However, recently Russian rafters started campaign to protect scenic river. Here we publish their appeal to the President Medvedev, which is open for signing at  http://burnovoding.ru/page/majoi/

Open letter to the President of Russia Mr. Dmitry Medvedev

We are deeply concerned about the plans of construction of the Chibit hydro-power station on the Chuya river in Altay, Russia. If this dam is built, our beloved and wonderful Majoy gorge of the Chuya river
will be gone for all.

This place is not just a middle of nowhere, it’s a real jem of the Russian Altay, the best whitewater course in Russia, a place that has become the favourite for many of us. Every year it is visited by thousands of kayakers and tourists. The Chuya-Rally race is held here every spring for over 20 years. In 1989 a historical event under the "Project RAFT" Russian-American initiative marked the first ever informal contact between the Russian and foreign whitewater atheletes. Since August 2010 it’s been the course of the "King of Asia" extreme kayak race.

We believe that this dam will bring irrecoverable damage to the nature of Altay destroying the unique scenic location — the Majoy gorge, and it will dramatically decrease the potential for tourism in the area.

The understanding that dams create huge negative impact on ecology has been spreading worldwide. Many countries dismount existing dams. For example, in the US in 2011 two infamous dams were destroyed on the Elhwa and White Salmon rivers.

We do not believe that demolition of the Majoy gorge does not have reasonable alternatives. This unique natural site may not be sacrificed only to considerations of profitability and investment efficiency. It has to be preserved untouched and passed on to the next generations.

For the time being there is an approved construction design of the dam; geological survey is under way. We had made official enquiries to "RusHydro" and tried to initiate public hearings but the realities are such that these attempts did not stand a chance of being heard.

While it is still not too late, we are pleading you to grant this territory the status of the National park!

We and our children and our grandchildren will be forever grateful to you, should you support this idea and help to preserve this unique beauty of our nature untouched.

Please, help!

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