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    Environmental watchdog asks court to suspend Baikal pulp mill

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    MOSCOW, December 3 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's environmental watchdog applied on Monday for the suspension of operations at a Baikal pulp and paper plant, saying it was guilty of polluting Lake Baikal, the world's deepest lake.

    "Today I have sent a petition to the Irkutsk arbitration court to suspend the work of the Baikal pulp and paper plant," said Oleg Mitvol, deputy head of the environmental regulator Rosprirodnadzor.

    Mitvol said the Baikal pulp and paper plant currently had no license for the use of the lake's water or contracts specifying the approved volume of wastewater discharges.

    In early November, Mitvol said the Baikal pulp and paper plant, which had earlier failed to extend its water use license, should suspend its operations, adding that wastewater discharges by pulp and paper enterprises were among the worst in industry.

    The Baikal pulp mill, which produces 200,000 metric tons of pulp and 12,000 metric tons of paper per year, is located in East Siberia. The mill is owned by the timber industrial company Continental Management (51%) and the State Property Committee of Russia (49%).

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