Georgia Authorises Construction of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline despite High Ecological Concerns

The government of Georgia has authorised the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. The document was signed by Environment Minister Nino Chkhobadze in the presence of the country's president and minister of state. Authorization was given provided a number of ecological conditions are complied with, otherwise the authorization may be automatically annulled, the Environment Ministry reported. Thus, the pipeline will not be laid via sanitary zones of water bodies, including the Tsalkskoye water reservoir and Lake Tabatskuri. The same rule will be applied to the Borjomi Gorge, where popular mineral water is produced. It has not been disclosed how much longer the pipeline will become as a result.

Trying to allay the public anxiety because of the pipeline being laid in the Borjomi Gorge, where famous mineral springs are situated, President of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze said in an interview on Monday, December 2, on Georgian national radio that the project's investors had proposed almost "unprecedented" measures for environmental protection.

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