MOSCOW, January 23 - RAPSI. A draft federal law on Russia's Arctic zone was published on Wednesday on the Regional Development Ministry's website. The ministry will serve as the coordinator and the authorized federal executive body responsible for the Arctic's development.

The bill calls for the mandatory state environmental evaluation of documents that describe and rationalize economic activity in the area that may have an impact on the environment. It also supposes that any planned activity is environmentally unsafe.

The bill prohibits the privatization of air transport facilities in the Arctic zone, and also states that specific areas may be temporarily closed to flights to prevent a potentially hazardous impact on the environment. The bill also bans the use of mechanized transport while traveling in the tundra and the forest tundra, expect on special roads, to avoid damaging the vegetative ground cover.

Under the bill, Russian ships will have the priority when performing maritime shipments in the Arctic zone and carry no less than 70% of all freight.

Russian citizens and Russia-registered companies will have the right to conduct economic operations in the Svalbard economic zone based on the bill.

Russian citizens and legal entities registered in Svalbard have the right to develop the zone's offshore resources, according to the bill. The bill does not allow for foreign interference in the operations of Russian citizens and companies in the zone in compliance with Russian law.