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Russia's Supreme Court will consider Thursday an appeal by environmentalists against the construction of Olympic facilities in Sochi
Russia's Supreme Court will consider Thursday an appeal by environmentalists against the construction of Olympic facilities in Sochi, a resort on the Black Sea bidding to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, a Greenpeace lawyer said. Sochi has been short-listed as a host city for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, along with Austria's Salzburg and South Korea's PyeongChang. The city previously bid for the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics, but was rejected largely due to its poor-quality Soviet-era infrastructure. The winner of the bid will be announced in July 2007 in Guatemala City. Lawyer Mikhail Kreindman told RIA Novosti that the environmental group Greenpeace is seeking the cancellation of the federal targeted program for Sochi's development in 2006-2014, arguing that the construction of sports and tourist facilities fails to observe environmental legislation. He said Greenpeace believes that holding the Olympics in Sochi is possible, but that they "should not cause significant damage to the environment." Environmentalists voiced their concerns during the visit of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission February 19-23. Chiharu Igaya, who heads the Evaluation Commission, acknowledged that the Olympic building plans affect a number of environmental issues, but said he hopes the Russian government and environmental organizations will reach a compromise. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Russia director Igor Chestin said in mid-February that there would be no problems with ecology during preparation for the Olympic Games in Sochi thanks to close cooperation between environmentalists and the authorities. He said the federal targeted program for Sochi's development will undergo ecological assessment, and land parcels in the resort city will not be leased without prior approval by the environmental watchdog. Under the program, which has a $12 billion budget, 580 kilometers (360 miles) of roads will be reconstructed and built near Sochi for the Olympics.
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