Construct an oil pipeline next to gray whale feeding area? Think twice, warns independent panel of scientists

07 May 2008 | News story

Members of the Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel, an independent scientific body convened by IUCN, have voiced their concern to Exxon Neftegaz Ltd. over plans to build an oil pipeline and an ice bridge across the Piltun Lagoon on the Sakhalin Island. The Lagoon is believed to be of crucial importance for the productivity of species on which western gray whales feed.

 The waters off Sakhalin Island are the primary feeding ground for the western gray whale population, which is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and consists of only about 130 individuals. The planned pipeline across the Lagoon could have an adverse effect on the entire nearshore ecosystem, which females and calves depend on. 

The comments by the Panel are in response to Exxon Neftegaz Ltd. public announcement of the pipeline construction project, which is part of the bigger “Sakhalin-1” Project.