ClientEarth has filed an appeal to the Finnish authorities, asking them to deny Gazprom the permits they need to start constructing gas pipeline Nord Stream 2.
The environmental lawyers say the construction of the undersea pipeline goes against European environmental policy and the long-term goals of international climate policy – and should be stopped in its tracks.
Marcin Stoczkiewicz, head of Central and Eastern Europe at ClientEarth, said: “The excuse to build Nord Stream 2 has always been the EU’s energy security – but this argument is flawed. On the contrary, it will only make the European Union more dependent on Russian gas.”
The lawyers also point to serious issues around recording the project’s impact on the natural environment. Stoczkiewicz added: “There are glaring holes in the environmental impact reports prepared by the investor. The impact of the investment on the wild nature of the Baltic Sea, including the impact on seals and porpoises, is unclear and therefore concerning.”
If the Finnish authorities take ClientEarth’s objections on board, the project in its current form would be disallowed. Gazprom would be forced to develop an alternative pipeline route or develop additional biodiversity conservation measures.
Nord Stream 2 is set to be a twin pipe to the existing Nord Stream 1 – the longest undersea pipeline in the world. It would deliver gas from Russia to Germany. Expected to become operational at the end of 2019, the pipeline would double the amount of gas delivered via this route, leading to greater EU dependence on Russian gas.
But the EU currently has an oversupply of gas, which, according to studies, will last at least until 2035.
Stoczkiewicz said: “We have to do everything to protect Europe from this damaging and unnecessary investment. The energy security of the EU should be based on renewable energy sources – they are climate-neutral and ensure independence of Europe from imported fossil fuels”.