It Won't Be Long before Bulgarians Start Borrowing Pieces of Bulgaria
"We have land/ We have water/ And we make mud," said Bulgarian writer Ivan Kulekov.
This is no longer true.
We have been making mud for a long time and it is highly probable that we shall keep doing this for a long time.
The raw materials, however, are becoming increasingly not ours.
Bulgaria's land is being occupied by concessionaires, both legally and illegally.
Once they set foot on an attractive plot, there's no chasing them out, as is the case with the illegally built ski runs and lifts in Bulgarian mountains, because the country has no mechanism to fight the incursion of private capital against territories of national and even global significance.
Bulgaria's water is about to come under attack from two sides, the Bourgas - Alexandroupolis oil pipeline and shale gas drilling.
While both projects are said to be aimed at energy diversification, they both imply substantial risks for the environment, the latter deploying a hugely under-researched technology.
There is no authority in the world that can guarantee against major or minor oil spills at the pipe and the meager transit fees Bulgaria is supposed to get will not suffice to resuscitate nature, tourism and the local economy.
At the same time, a leak of toxic chemicals into groundwater supplies caused by hydraulic fracturing will poison Bulgaria's largest grain-growing region, Dobrudja.
Until the contrary is conclusively proved, shale gas exploration and production continues to be largely associated with air, soil and water contamination and with earthquakes.
Talking about air, the EurActiv web portal recently noted that Bulgaria, Romania and Armenia topped statistics on deaths caused by urban air pollution.
Bulgaria cannot make polluters pay, be they industrial or household ones, which makes it "one of the world's deadliest places to live," as the news portal cautioned.
The country is also poor enough to have to resort to environmentally harmful energy resources.
In the meantime, the authorities are incompetent and corrupt enough to be unable to handle community cleaning services.
Bulgaria is mired in mud, as was indicated by the past presidential and local elections.
Numerous courts in the country are yet to come up with decisions on the legality of the vote, and regardless of the outcome, the population will retain its reasonable doubts that the procedure was discredited.
Bulgaria has turned into a battleground of interests, both local and global, both political and business.
It is up to its citizens to realize that their homeland is not to be sold piecemeal and to fight attempts at such transactions.
Bulgarian nationals get born with a set of unalienable rights to the country's air, water and land.
Hopefully, they will not have to borrow.
I am writing in response to this element from your article:
"There is no authority in the world that can guarantee against major or minor oil spills at the pipe and the meager transit fees Bulgaria is supposed to get will not suffice to resuscitate nature, tourism and the local economy."
Surely you know that there are, in fact, insurance companies who will happily insure against oil pipeline spills. And, there is pipeline valve technology available that can be installed, say, every kilometer, which can automatically shut off the pipeline when a break in the pressurization occurs -- which limits a spills (worst case scenario) to 1 kilometer of spilled oil that can fit in a 36 inch kilometer pipe. However, since I do not know the details of the proposed Bourgas-Alexandroupolis crude oil pipeline project, I cannot say whether or not such technology will be used. I only wanted to make sure you knew that it existed. Such a small amount of oil, if spilled, would be easy to clean up.
How much are the transit fees which the Bulgarian Government is expected to receive? Presumably these would be measured in so many U.S. cents/barrel (i.e. a subset of the tariff paid).
Maybe the answer would be to take those tariff fees and put them into a trust fund for the health, welfare, and education of the communities along the route of the pipeline so that they do not (cannot) be placed into the General Purpose Budget of the country.
I welcome your kind reply.