Nordics and Baltics pressure Nord Stream on environment
Pressure on the Nord Stream project regarding environmental concerns is growing, with the Nordic countries and the Baltic states all expressing reservations at the environmental impact of the project.
In a report from the European Information Service, Lithuanian president Valdas Adamkus stated: “I am fully aware of the ecological damage… By laying the pipeline, they will wipe out any life. Swedish ecologists are just as concerned. This pipeline is coming about without any consultations and without any deeper ecological investigations and feasibility studies. However, at the moment, we are talking about a political agreement signed on a piece of paper. No money has yet been sunk into the project. After considering all the factors, Russia and Germany should think again.”
The Finnish ministry of the environment was also scathing about Nord Stream’s environmental impact assessment in a release on Wednesday, commenting: “The project has not been described with precision, and it fails to specify how and where the trenches will be dug, quarried and filled in connection to the construction process. Furthermore, information on the state of the seabed is not sufficient to define the required studies… Because the Gulf of Finland is an ecologically sensitive area and already highly polluted, the environmental authorities consider it of utmost importance to find the least environmentally harmful alternative for planning the routing and building of the pipeline. The assessment programme fails to demonstrate that the selected routing presents the least harmful alternative for the Gulf of Finland.”
In mid-February, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency issued a statement it had received notifications from Germany, Denmark, Finland and Russia about the Nord Stream project, and it urged extensive testing on the impact on the environment, and preventative action.
Nord Stream AG expects to construct and operate the 1,200-km gas pipeline (formerly known as the North European Gas Pipeline), which will connect the Baltic Sea coasts of Russia and Germany and is scheduled to be completed by 2010. The initial capacity will be 27.5 billion cubic metres (Gm3), to be expanded to 55 Gm3 in the second phase of development.
Russia’s Gazprom holds 51% in Nord Stream, while E.ON and the BASF subsidiary Wintershall hold 24.5% each. ZD
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