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Russia's Transneft Insists Baikal Pipeline Is Safe

Semyon Vainshtok, head of Transneft (epa) April 20, 2006 -- The head of Russia's pipeline monopoly, Transneft, insisted today that a controversial oil pipeline that will skirt Lake Baikal on its route to Asia poses no danger to the world's biggest freshwater lake.

Environmentalists say the pipeline, which passes less than a kilometer from Baikal, could ruin the lake's unique ecology in the event of a spill.