PROTECT THE BALTIC SEA WHILE IT'S STILL NOT TOO LATE!
On the 25th of August 2008 there was made an appeal concerning the Nord Stream Gas Pipeline Project to the Chancellor of Germany Mrs. Angela Merkel, during her visit in Lithuania.
The summary of the appeal:
We kindly request:
- to take regard to the pledge of the European Union citizens to save the Baltic Sea, which is mare nostrum for some 85 million people and should remain such for the future generations;
- to give your contribution to the implementation of the European Parliament decision (it was made on the 8th of July, 2008) concerning Nord Stream’s influence for the Baltic Sea.
The project “Safe the Baltic sea while it is not too late” represents 29 thousand people and 18 NGOs who in 2007 have petitioned the European Parliament for an independent environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the Nord European Gas Pipeline (Nord Stream) project. The petition of the European Union citizens has raised two main demands:
1.EIA of the NEGP project must be independent of companies and Governments directly involved and interested in the construction of the pipeline; this is the only reliable way to ensure objectiveness of the EIA and that all questions of concern will be answered fully;
2. EIA must be in full compliance with the international and EU standards; it must include all possible alternative onshore route options.
Environmental and geopolitical concerns mix in EP objections to Nord Stream project
The 8th of July, 2008.
The planned Nord Stream pipeline along the seabed of the Baltic Sea worries MEPs for both environmental and geopolitical reasons. In a report adopted by 542 votes in favour, 60 against and 38 abstentions, the EP calls on Commission and Council to be more actively involved in evaluating the potential environmental impact of this gas pipeline. The report responds to two petitions by Polish and Lithuanian environmental associations who fear that the planned pipeline could harm marine eco-systems. As one of the infrastructure projects selected under the EU Trans-European Energy Networks (TEN-E) initiative, the Nord Stream submarine pipeline, which would directly link up Germany and Russia, is the subject of an own-initiative report by Petitions Committee Chair Marcin Libicki (UEN, PL).
Dumped munitions might pose threat to environment and human health
MEPs warn that this, the world's longest and shallowest dual sub-sea gas pipeline, would be "especially vulnerable to potential damage". They stress that "while carrying out work in an area of up to 2,400 km² in the Baltic Sea, requiring the use of a large number of vessels and other equipment, could represent a serious threat to biodiversity and to the number of habitats", and that Nord Stream AG should be obliged to pay compensation for any environmental damage.
Disturbing munitions dumped on the Baltic seabed after World War II could pose a threat to the Baltic marine environment, and to human life and health, says the report. Toxic substances such as mustard gas, sulphur yperite, nitrogen yperite, lewisite, Clark I, Clark II and adamsite are all present in about 80,000 tonnes of munitions that are now very heavily corroded and cannot always be located, adds the report.
Diversification of resources and alternative routes essential for European energy security
As the EU depends on a limited number of energy sources, suppliers and transport routes, "it is essential to support initiatives aimed at their diversification, both geographically and by developing sustainable alternatives", says the report. It also underlines that "energy security must be regarded as an essential component of the overall security of the European Union," taking into account "the geopolitical dependency on imports and the potential therein for politically motivated interruptions."
The Parliament notes that the Nord Stream pipeline will be only one of a large number of infrastructure projects, such as pipelines and liquid natural gas facilities, needed to meet growing demand for natural gas. MEPs also argue that given growing EU gas demand, alternative gas pipeline routes should be analysed and promoted.
Clear European interest, but insufficient EU involvement
The Parliament notes that the Nord Stream pipeline is "a project of European interest that would help meet the EU's future energy needs." While saying that "Nord Stream is an infrastructure project with a wide political and strategic dimension for both the EU and Russia,", the House also notes "the lack of institutional structures capable of responding adequately to the environmental and geopolitical security issues associated with this project." The report also notes that "in light of Russia's current political situation and geopolitical ambitions, [...] it is of great importance that Russia show goodwill regarding cooperation in the European energy policy."
Emphasising that "greater EU involvement would reduce the uncertainty felt by many Member States," the report asks the Commission to evaluate the environmental impact of the project. MEPs voice their opposition at the "carrying-out of an investment on the proposed scale without having first a positive environmental impact assessment," and call on Commission and Council to ensure that the pipeline's construction adheres to all EU an international legislation.