The role of law in the relationship between the local people and the oil industry in the Komi Republic, Russia

Lead Author Ekaterina, Britcyna
Institution Contact University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland Yliopistonkatu 8, 96300 Rovaniemi, Suomi
Co-Authors Minna Pappila, University of Turku, Finland Soili Nystén-Haarala, University of Lapland, Finland
Theme Theme 2: Vulnerability of Arctic Societies
Session Name 2.1 The role of law and institutions in Arctic transformation process
Datetime Wed, Sep 14, 2016 01:20 PM - 01:40 PM
Presentation Type Oral
Abstract text Oil industry is an important part of the economy of the Komi republic in the Russian Federation. In addition to its benefits for the local, regional and especially federal economy, there are also serious ecological disadvantages - mainly oil leaks - that affect the lives of local people and erase the oil industry's social license to operate in the region. Our case study is located in the Izemskii district in Komi where we have interviewed both the local people, local authorities and representatives of oil industry.

We concentrate in our presentation on the role that legislation has in enhancing corporate environmental responsibility towards the local people in Komi. We look at the relationship between the local people and the oil industry especially from the point of view of participatory rights of the local people. Russian environmental legislation offers minimal amount of participatory rights. They only have a right be heard in a environmental impact procedure of a new project, but they have no rights related to ongoing projects. Continuous oil spills affect the living conditions of the local people and are considered a serious threat to living conditions in villages, yet there are no official ways to participate; e.g. to get information on oil leaks and recovery works of polluted land areas or rivers. In this sense Russian legislation has only got worse during the last 15 years. There is, however, some regional legislation or practices that alleviate the situation somewhat. Local people do not get any compensation either, as the polluted forest lands or rivers are owned by the state. CSR is considered to consist of social agreements between the oil company and authorities and there is practically no role for the local people, unless they have the status of indigenous people, which somewhat improves their situation.
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