PetroChina Daqing Tamsag faces criticism and fines for environmental abuses
The mining operations of PetroChina Daqing Tamsag, financed entirely by China, have been creating serious problems for residents of Matad soum in Dornod Province. A few months ago, the company was found guilty of causing significant harm to the environment and fined 1.3 billion MNT by the Bayanzurkh District Primary Court. The Dornod Province Police Department is working on another criminal investigation of PetroChina Daqing Tamsag, for illegally dumping soil from the 19th Oil Field with high oil and contaminant concentrations.
Province locals and law enforcement discovered the illegal dumping in early August. Defenders of PetroChina Daqing Tamsag say that people are mistaking the deposited soil as being contaminated, and claim that the company properly stores its waste using modern technology. The investigation is still underway and environmental risk assessment is also being done. Once the assessment is complete, the case will be taken to court.
Some Dornod Province residents doubt that the case will be solved easily, as the 1.3 billion MNT fine for previous damages still hasn’t been paid by the company. According to locals and media reports, PetroChina Daqing Tamsag has been operating without much public consideration for Mongolia’s environment, or the wellbeing of province residents. Complaints regarding the company’s harmful operations and its danger to the environment, have been sent to the Government of Mongolia many times since June 2013, but no restrictive measures or legal action have been imposed on the company. Due to weak law enforcement and monitoring, residents say that PetroChina Daqing Tamsag has been threatening people’s rights to live in a safe and healthy environment, and livestock pastures in the province have been ruined and massively degraded, resulting in the loss of drinking water.
PetroChina Daqing Tamsag postponed previous court trials ten times, in what most believe was a display of its legal and political privilege. But Mongolian courts finally fined the company, which was felt to be a just decision on behalf of the people of Mongolia. Dornod Province residents are hoping that the government will resolve these cases soon.
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