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RIA Novosti – Moscow Russia: Sakhalin energy project link to bird deaths rejected

13/ 03/ 2006
YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, March 13 (RIA Novosti, Pyotr Tsyrendorzhiev) – Recent mass bird deaths on the Russian-Japanese maritime border have not been linked to any suspected industrial accidents on the Russian Far East island of Sakhalin, a local official said Monday.
“An influx of dead birds from the Sakhalin coast to the northern coast of Hokkaido [a Japanese island] must be completely ruled out,” the official said, referring to the regional bureau of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Japanese experts suggested earlier that the dead birds had been brought by ice floes from the Okhotsk Sea. However, Russian experts said such a scenario would only have been possible if northern winds had dominated this winter, a rare phenomenon that was not recorded this year.
The official cited the bureau's leading researcher, Vasily Khramushin, as saying that environmental monitoring conducted this winter had not shown any traces of an industrial accident on the Sakhalin shelf, a production area for major oil projects in the Okhotsk Sea. “On the other hand, researchers have found traces of toxins that passed from the Amur River even into Aniva Bay, on the southern coast of Sakhalin Island,” he said.
About 100 tons of chemicals, including potentially lethal benzene, were released into China's Songhua River, a tributary of the Amur, by a major explosion at a chemical plant in northeast China on November 13, 2005.
“The only possible scenario is that the contamination originated near the western coast of Hokkaido, and the dead birds were brought to the area between Hokkaido and Kunashir [a Russian island bordering Hokkaido on the south] by the Soya [Warm] Current,” the official said.

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