Russia to build oil pipeline within half-mile of world’s deepest lake

A 2,550-mile-long oil pipeline is set to be built within 900 yards of the world’s deepest lake. And really, what could go wrong? Lake Baikal — home to a variety of unique species of flora and fauna and over 20 percent of the planet’s unfrozen freshwater — has the misfortune to lie along the cheapest route for Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft to expand the country’s oil exports to Asia. Scientists have warned of erosion, water pollution, and the possibility that earthquakes, which happen regularly in the area, could rupture the pipeline and cause oil to flow into the lake. A government commission of experts that originally rejected the plan on environmental grounds was increased by 34 members and asked to review the project again, after which they approved it. Coincidentally, the pipeline is backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.