Pipeline-related risks for Skopje's Vodno mountain

Pipeline-related risks for Skopje's Vodno mountain
In January 2018, Nezavisen Vesnik had written that due to that fact that gasification has been one of the top priorities of the government, which has been intensively seeking ways for gas pipelines to reach all municipalities in fYROMacedonia, 80 kilometers of pipeline - the longest ever - will be constructed within 2018 in fYROMacedonia, after EUR 40 million has been singled out from the national budget.

Months later, environmental activists in the country "have vowed to oppose 'by all available means', as balkaninsight.com reports, "government construction of a gas pipeline through a mountain on the outskirts of the capital Skopje, warning of irreversible damage to a valuable ecosystem.

Known locally as the city's green lungs for its clean, cold air, Vodno mountain with its 1,066-metre Krstovar peak dominates the skyline on Skopje's southwestern reaches and is a popular destination for hiking and day-trips."

Indeed, it is important to note that fYROMacedonia has a huge energy dependency issue, officially, addressed on an international scale report, already since 2004; The World Bank, in its 'Energy policy paper on Macedonia in 2004' projected a "dark scenario" for the energy future of the country according to which until the year of 2019, fYROMacedonia will import 90% of its electricity demands (FYR Macedonia Energy Policy Paper, World Bank document, July 2004, pg. 14).

Four years later, in 2008 to be exact, analyticamk.org had written "Macedonia has a scarcity of domestic energy resources. The basic energy source is the coal – lignite, which contributes with almost 70% of the total energy production in the country. It is the main energy source for electricity production in the two major thermal power plants 'REK Bitola' and 'TEC Oslomej'. However the lignite in Macedonia as an energy source is not efficient enough. It is low caloric lignite, characterized with low quality and with estimated reserves only until 2025. The other fossil fuels with big share in the energy consumption in Macedonia, are oil and natural gas, and are imports.3 There is only one oil pipeline transporting crude oil from Thessaloniki, Greece to Skopje, capital of Macedonia" (pp. 1-2).

Going back to protests of locals who love their mountain and believe that they are faced with an upcoming ecocide, specialists and NGOs opposing the governmental planning relevant to how the pipeline will be constructed and where it will pass from, here is what tvstanici.net reads: "the mechanization of the field and the insight in the documentation for the route from the pipeline that should pass through Vodno, have triggered strong reactions from the civil activists.

Non-government reactions follow the opportunity to review the project in detail. The main gas pipeline that needs to reach Tetovo and Gostivar, only on the mountain Vodno should be penetrated through a 11 kilometer alignment, from which, according to the non-governmental, 4 km through high forest forest. On the ridge of Vodno, the pipeline should pass the village of Shishevo, and then through the Treska River pass through the village of Glumovo. From there, he continues for Tetovo, Gostivar and Kichevo, with one leg going north, besides Rasche for Kosovo."

The actual planning seems to be like a sponge full of tiny holes, fully against the environment and catastrophic for the Vodno flaura and fauna, since there is no protection network available for the mountainous ecosystem. "The plan is to set the pipeline along the ridge of Vodno, but due to the configuration of the terrain, tree felling is also necessary. Several have already been destroyed only by climbing the machines, and in order to maintain the pipeline, a part of the forest will be permanently re-converted into a dirt-road a few meters wide", local tvstanici.net has reported.

VMRO-DPMNE also opposes the leadership's plans.... / IBNA

Main Photo: Vodno mountain and wide view of the city of Skopje


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