Over the strong, united objections by the indigenous Altai people, international environmental groups, and the UNESCO World Heritage committee, the government of Altai Republic approved the beginning of construction of a gas pipeline across the sacred Ukok plateau.
The ironic part of this is that the project goes ahead even though there is slim likelihood of Russia and China agreeing on the price of the gas, and engineering studies have shown that the route across the plateau is not economically viable. I've heard it said that the main reason for the construction is to line the pockets of the the construction company owners -- which is an horrific reason to destroy a pristine ecosystem.
The Altai people are well organized in their effort to protect their sacred lands, but as subsistence farmers and herders, they are financially stretched when facing down Gazprom, the Russian national gas company.
Please enjoy the wonderful RussiaToday video about Altai, and contribute what you can as part of your year-end giving, or as a monthly pledge. All the funds we receive are passed directly through to indigenous Altai partners.