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Journalist from Kazakhstan's Pavlodar sends letter to Obama

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A journalist from Kazakhstan's Pavlodar has written a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama.A journalist from Kazakhstan's Pavlodar has written a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama.A journalist from Kazakhstan's Pavlodar has written a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, reports.

In the open letter posted on the official website of the White House Pavlodar journalist Fyodor Koalyov asks Barack Obama to stop an American investor from infringing upon the interests of Kazakhstan citizens and bring back the spring overflow of the Irtysh River. 

According to the letter, American power company AES has been running Shulbinsk Hydro Power Plant in Kazakhstan on a concession basis since 1997.

"Last four springs, AES admitted gross violation of the schedule for overflowing the river Irtysh flood plain. Water was supplied to the river bed with a big delay and in insufficient volume. Annual absence of artificial flood causes a huge damage to the environment, agriculture and interest of ¼ part of Kazakhstani population. Pavlodar region suffers the most as it is situated downstream. Flood meadows of Pavlodar Irtysh flood plain are exposed to gradual desertification; forage crop is being significantly reduced. Unique valuable species of plants and fish are threatened. Environmental disaster is coming," the journalist writes.

According to him, there was no river overflow in spring 2012. The summer was dry and low-yield. In winter the area saw cattle dieing because of lack of fodder and fish frozen into ice in the shallow waters. "The head of Pavlodar region administration managed to bring the issue of the river Irtysh overflow at government level and to lay AES under obligation to give water in summer 2013. But nobody can guarantee that AES will fulfill its obligations," the activist writes.

"That is why I would like to ask you, as it is possible within your powers, to persuade AES management to fulfill all its investment obligations on Shulbinsk HPP and other Kazakhstani objects, to assist in remediation of Irtysh flood plain and further observe the Rules for exploitation of water sources in the upper Irtysh reservoir cascade. In 2013, AES shall produce spring water pass from Shulbinsk HPP approximately in the period from the middle April to the early May. For the stated period Irtysh shall by stages receive at least 5 cubic kilometers of water. 2013 is a critically important year for us. Repeated drought may become fatal. Especially on the threshold of Kazakhstan joining WTO. Please, ask AES to observe the Rules. Give us the river overflow back now!" the letter states.

"Honestly, I don't much for Obama's respond or reaction. He is a busy person and most probably he will stand for American company. But I see that my letter is become a reason for raising Irtysh overflow problem again in Kazakhstan and foreign media, so that nobody tries to softpedal it. I call all journalists and bloggers to control this problems, monitor the dates of spring water passing and in case of their violation to request the country's management to take sanctions against AES to the extent of suspention of its activities and further nationalization," Kovalyov noted.

According to the journalist, he initially published his letter on his page in Facebook in public access and sent the link to the personal Twitter of Barack Obama.

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February 7 2013, 18:06

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