Nord Stream 2 route across refuge is called optimal
The main route of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which is named as preferred one in the documents being officially submitted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation, violates the requirements of Russian legislation on Nature Protected Areas (NPAs). Its provisions prohibit any construction within territory of the refuge.
Besides, Kurgalsky refuge is also a wetland of international importance and is protected under the respective Convention. The construction across its territory will threaten such species as ringed and grey seals, and others. At the same time other, less harmful to natural environment options for pipe-laying are available.
“Preferred routeing option for the new Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline that is proposed by the Ministry is not only violating the requirements of the Russian legislation, but also does not take into account the view point by wide range of Russian stakeholders. As in March 2017, representatives of a dozen of various environmental and scientific organizations expressed their explicit and unanimous view against the pipe-laying across the Kurgalsky natural reserve,” comments Alexey Knizhnikov, Head of Oil&Gas Environmental Policy Programme of the WWF-Russia.
This position was expressed at various occasions, including the XVIII Baltic Sea Day International Environmental Forum in St. Petersburg on 22-23 of March 2017. WWF-Russia has also posted its position on the preferred route of the gas pipeline at its official website.
However, no formalised and scientifically competent public discussions on alternative routes for the new gas pipeline have been carried out in Russia. “Thus, the suggested route, remains to be preferred only for the Gazprom and Nord Stream 2 AG group of companies. Meanwhile, in this case, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology should not distribute on behalf of the Russian Federation the materials in which the conclusion about the preferred route is already made,” points out A. Knizhnikov.
Public hearings serve as an important part of the EIA preparation procedure. As it has not been done, WWF considers that the project preparation work should be returned to the stage of developing and discussing alternative routes. WWF also reminds that establishment of Ingermanlandsky Nature Reserve within Russian part of the Baltic Sea, had been promised in the framework of the previous Nord Stream project. And it is worth doing so before the new project is implemented.
The Nord Stream gas pipeline was launched in November 2011. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline aims to be stretching along the Baltic Sea bottom from the Russian to the German coast by alike route. Its launch is planned for the end of 2019.