Russia plans enormous sports complex near pristine national park

Hoping to strengthen its bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Russian government has approved an $11.3 billion project to turn areas of Sochi National Park into a ginormous winter-sports complex. The park is home to 300 endemic plant species and a variety of endangered flora and fauna; over a quarter of its nearly 470,000 acres are earmarked for ski resorts, a high-speed rail system, a hydropower plant, and an Olympic Village. “The construction would cause significant damage to the area,” says Mikhail Kreindlin of Greenpeace Russia, which is suing to stop the project. “The government is aware of all this but is under too much pressure from powerful real-estate developers and big corporations.” In response to the lawsuit, the Sochi 2014 bid committee announced that it would “ensure that all our plans meet and comply with the highest environmental standards of the Olympics and ecological communities.” Da, right.