Duke of York accused over oil project

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The Independent Online

The Duke of York faces international criticism after backing an oil project in eastern Russia that threatens to wipe out a rare breed of whale and harm local fisheries.

The Duke of York faces international criticism after backing an oil project in eastern Russia that threatens to wipe out a rare breed of whale and harm local fisheries.

Prince Andrew is now on a British trade mission to Russia, acting as a trade ambassador for the Government, and is to visit a highly controversial oil and gas extraction project being led by the troubled energy giant Shell.

Conservationists claim the project, on Sakhalin island in the far east of Russia, is threatening to cause the extinction of Western Pacific Grey Whales. Only about 100 of the whales survive.

Nick Rau, of Friends of the Earth's energy campaigner, said: "It definitely threatens the Western Pacific Grey Whale. The pipeline goes through their feeding ground, and there's only 20 left capable of bearing calves."

The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, which supports the scheme, has also criticised Shell's environmental impact assessments as too weak.

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