Conflict between police and local residents over high voltage power lines through Usatove
The construction of a new 330 kV Overhead transmission line (OHL) interconnection between Usatove and Ajalyk substations in the Odessa region which is financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development [EBRD] has led to run-ins between police units and residents of the village of Usatove who are against the transmission line running through their village.
Ukrenergo, the energy company which has received an EBRD loan of 25 million EURO for the project, is implementing it with violations of the initial arrangements with the Bank (http://ebrd.com/projects/psd/psd2005/33896.htm) .
According to the Environmental Impact Assessment approved in 2005, the transmission line should pass by Usatove. Despite this, Ukrenergo has begun building the line in direct proximity to people’s houses which has led to tense confrontation between the company and local residents. The conflict of interest between the State-owned company and ordinary people who want to live in normal conditions without a threat to their health has been continuing for several months, however it escalated on Monday, 16 November, when police officers arrived to free up the area for the construction of new props for the transmission line.
On Monday residents of Usatove were pushed from the construction site by more than 300 police officers and unidentified persons dressed in work clothes. 5 women, one underage, were injured. With backup from the police, Ukrenergo is continuing construction, even working at night. The confrontation also continued and on Tuesday five local men were beaten and detained.
Member of the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine Yury Urbansky: “The flagrant disregard by Ukrenergo of its agreement according to which EBRD gave Ukraine a $25 million loan is shocking and has elicited anger among the residents of Usatove. At the same time this company has plans for further cooperation with EBRD and is already now trying to receive financing for a new, no less controversial project constructing transmission lines in the Zaporizhya and Kherson regions….
What has taken place over the last few days is convincing proof that Ukrenergo is not concerned about the interests of the local community. It is evident that observing European standards when implementing their projects, as required by EBRD, is also not a priority for the company. In view of this, EBRD should suspend all further negotiations on future projects with Ukrenergo until the incident in Usatove is resolved in favour of the village’s residents”. A letter containing this demand has been sent to the President of the EBRD (http://www.necu.org.ua/091117-lep-adzhalik-usatove/ )
More information can be obtained from Yury Urbansky at e-mail: urbik AT necu.org.ua