Activists grouped within a civil initiative called 'No to The Oil Pipeline Through Žitný Ostrov', who oppose the planned construction of an oil pipeline between Slovakia and Austria across Žitný ostrov, an area in south-east Slovakia that includes important drinking-water reservoirs, have met with Economy Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek to discuss possible alternatives for the project, the TASR newswire reported.
According to the leader of the initiative, Miroslav Dragun, it would be less harmful to the environment if the so-called northern corridor were used, with the pipeline crossing the Small Carpathians north of Bratislava.
“Even though the pipeline would then be ten kilometres longer, the costs wouldn’t change - or they could actually be lower - because the technically demanding tools that would be required if the route passed through a protected area wouldn't be needed,” Dragon told TASR.
The Economy Ministry has not decided on the pipeline's route yet.
“The minister has had at least one more route worked out that should circumvent the whole area of Žitný ostrov, but the definitive decision will probably be known only on June 30,” said ministry spokesman Vahram Chuguryan.
The civil initiative plans to collect 100,000 signatures against the construction of the pipeline in its current controversial form. After collecting enough signatures, the organisers intend to send the petition to representatives of Parliament, the Government, the Slovak President and the European Commission. The gathering of signatures began on February 5 and is taking place throughout Slovakia, with around 10,000 people reported as signing so far. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
24. Feb 2010 at 14:00