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American Chronicle: UK marine campaigners try to stop public money destroying gray whales

On May 22nd, members of the public have been invited to join a peaceful protest outside of the European Bank's Annual General Meeting in London.

The critically endangered western Pacific gray whales face extinction if the Bank backs oil giant Shell's plans to drill for oil and gas in their feeding grounds off Sakhalin Island.

Shell’s Sakhalin II project in Russia's far east is the largest oil and gas extraction project in the world and they are seeking up to $300 million from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Despite the warnings of scientists that this project could drive the whales to extinction, the European Bank looks set to back the project with public funds.

Liz Sandeman of London based dolphin and whale conservation charity, The Marine Connection, and a leading expert on the marine environment says: “If we are to save the western gray whale it is absolutely vital that we persuade the EBRD not to finance the Sakhalin 11 project.”

“We also need to convince Shell that the world will never forgive them if they put their profits before the future of the western gray whales” adds Liz.

The Marine Connection is one of the organisations involved in supporting this protest. Further details can be found at – everyone is invited to show they care by joining the campaigners for any time they can spare on Monday 22 May, between 10.30am – 2.30pm.

The location is the Hilton Metropole Hotel at the junction of Edgware Road (by the flyover) and Praed Street,W2. Nearest tube station is the Edgware Road.

As Liz says: “The whales need you!”

This combination of concern for marine mammals, the use of public money for projects which will endanger them, the apparent lack of accountability of a European banking institution and the environmental credentials of one of the world's leading business brands makes this a story to watch!

May 15, 2006

By John Hicks

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