President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Khloponin, the Year of the Environment is underway in Russia. You were in charge of organising this work as Deputy Prime Minister. What do you think about the activities planned by the Government? What and when do we expect to accomplish as a result of this work?
Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Khloponin: Mr President, in accordance with your executive order, the Government approved an action plan as part of the Year of the Environment whereby we will hold 234 events to clean up environmental damage, introduce the best available technologies, and to conserve rare animal populations. This is one area of our focus.
Our major corporations and companies such as Rosneft, Gazprom, EVRAZ and RUSAL, plan to carry out 64 events during the Year of the Environment with a budget of over 100 billion rubles. These measures will reduce emissions and other negative impact on the environment. The emissions will be reduced by almost 70,000 tonnes per year. This is a very good figure.
In total, we plan to spend 347 billion rubles as part of this effort, of which federal funds will account for around 145 billion, regional budgets for about 11 billion, whereas our major private companies will provide the biggest share of financing in the amount of about 190 billion rubles.
The Clean Country project is another area of focus of the Government, which comprises two main activities. The first one is connected with building five pilot plants for thermal treatment of municipal waste. This project covers the Moscow Region and Tatarstan. The Government has already developed incentives using the green tariff in order to implement these projects. We hope this project will be critical and valuable for achieving success. The Moscow Region is home to about 19 million people, and this will be a landmark event, indeed.
The second area concerns reclaiming and cleaning damaged land. This project involves about 20 regions and 25 facilities, including the city of Dzerzhinsk in the Nizhny Novgorod and Chelyabinsk regions and Franz Josef Land. Also, upon your instruction, we will start the clean-up of Lake Baikal this year.
The conservation of animals is a separate project. In accordance with your instruction, we will adopt a corresponding law this year.
Vladimir Putin: How is the introduction of the best available technology going?
Alexander Khloponin: Most of our major companies have joined this programme. They should approve projects and programmes for transitioning to the best available technology by 2019 and start implementing them in 2020.
We have some questions regarding a number of companies. Indeed, they are putting together projects, but are saying that they will start implementing technology projects in 2020, 2021 or even 2022. We are focusing on each individual company. For us, it is important to make sure that these are real programmes, not some abstract ideas written on paper.
Vladimir Putin: I am sure you understand why I asked you this question. Speaking in bureaucratic parlance, business representatives are asking me to push all these plans back. Please make sure that these proposals and requests are treated very carefully, and proper calculations are made.
You also mentioned the protection of rare animals. What’s your opinion of the law enforcement practice? We have adopted the laws toughening punishment for killing animals, especially the ones on the endangered species list. How are things going in reality?
Alexander Khloponin: We are closely following the legislation, especially with regard to endangered species. To date, the restrictive measures have already brought positive results. We are restoring the populations of rare animals. I am personally involved in a project to restore the population of the Persian leopard. There are projects for the Far Eastern leopard, birds, bison, and several other species. Indeed, we are doing a lot in this regard.
Many non-governmental and charity organisations are involved in restoring populations of rare animals. Today, we are applying harsh measures to unauthorised hunting and killing of these animals. Opinions vary, but I think that the current law-enforcement practice does allow us to increase the populations of these animals.
Vladimir Putin: People may disagree, there is nothing unusual about it. But there is the law which stipulates punishment for culprits, including criminal liability. It is applied or not?
Alexander Khloponin: Yes, it is. Of course, the territory is vast, and, perhaps, there are not enough rangers to cover it in full.
Vladimir Putin: Please assist the Prosecutor General's Office in carrying out an inspection.
Alexander Khloponin: Will do.