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Baikal Mill to Be Shut Down

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says authorities will shut down a paper mill on the shores of Lake Baikal that environmentalists say is a major polluter threatening the world's largest fresh water lake.

Authorities first closed the Baikal Pulp and Paper Mill in 2008, before it re-opened in 2010. Then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at that time stressed that the employment of the mill's 1,500 workers in the East Siberian town of Baikalsk superseded ecological concerns.

Environmentalists said the mill threatened the lake's estimated 1,500 unique species of plants and animals.

Medvedev, who was visiting Lake Baikal on Tuesday, said "there's no way back" on the latest decision to close the plant, Russian news agencies reported.

The prime minister also pledged nearly $1 billion toward the development of the area.

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