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Nord Stream 2 preliminary EIA results show no significant environmental impact

Published by
World Pipelines,

Nord Stream 2 AG, the developer of a new pipeline to supply Russian gas to the key EU market through the Baltic Sea, and the Kingisepp District Administration have held a public hearing of the draft environmental impact assessment report (EIA) for the project in Russia that was published on 4 August 2017.

"The preliminary results of the EIA show that Nord Stream 2 will not have a significant negative impact on the environment, including the Kurgalsky reserve, given the planned set of environmental protection measures," concluded the team of experts from FRECOM Ltd. that prepared the Russian EIA documentation as independent consultants.

Gregory Vilchek, Head of the Russia EIA and Permitting Group at Nord Stream 2 AG, commented: "The draft EIA report is based on the results of comprehensive survey work carried out for the project over the last five years by leading scientific organisations including the Russian Academy of Sciences, St Petersburg State University and the State Scientific Research Institute for the Freshwater Fishing Industry (GosNIORKh)."

Research along the proposed route is the most detailed and complete ever carried out in this region. It has helped to significantly expand the base of knowledge about the southern part of the Kurgalsky reserve and the adjacent Gulf of Finland. Earlier, based on a comprehensive analysis of a broad range of factors, the route through Narva Bay passing through the southern edge of the Kurgalsky reserve was identified as the preferred option due to its lower environmental and social impact, compared to any other options that have been considered.

The hearing in Kingisepp was held as part of the public discussions of the draft EIA report. Residents of the Kingisepp district, local officials, representatives of environmental NGOs, as well as experts from Nord Stream 2 and FRECOM attended the event.

Nord Stream 2 provided detailed explanations on the main aspects of the project's implementation in Russia:

  • Nord Stream 2 will not have a significant negative impact on the Kurgalsky reserve. Construction activities would impact directly only 0.14% of the reserve's onshore territory.
  • The project is being carried out in full compliance with Russian legislation. Survey work and research along the route is being performed by highly qualified specialists with all the required permits and in strict compliance with the reserve's protection regime.
  • Construction of the gas pipeline in the narrow southern part of the Kurgalsky reserve will not lead to the destruction of rare species of flora and fauna. Similar plant communities are present to the south and north of the planned gas pipeline route.
  • A set of environmental protection measures shall minimise the impact on the bird population.
  • Available data have shown that there are no critical habitats of protected species of marine mammals along the route through Narva Bay. The impact of construction of the gas pipeline on these mammals is estimated to be low.

Public discussion of the draft EIA report and the collection of comments on it will continue for another 30 days after the hearing in line with Russian law. The final document, which will take into account the comments, will be submitted along with a compilation of materials from the public discussions as part of the project documentation for state environmental expert review.

Ahead of the hearing, in line with its commitment to open and active dialogue with the public, Nord Stream 2 AG held a series of meetings with the local community, environmental NGOs and the expert community.

More than 200 residents from nine communities in the Kingisepp district took part in consultations on the project that were organised with support from the regional and municipal authorities. Public comments were recorded so that they can be taken into account, as agreed in consultations with relevant authorities and within respective mandates.

Nord Stream 2 AG has been working in close contact with international and regional environmental NGOs since the early stage of project implementation. Some 30 experts from more than 10 scientific institutes and environmental NGOs including the Russian Academy of Sciences, St Petersburg State University, National Research Institute of Lake and River Fisheries, the Russian Bird Conservation Union, BPS Monitoring, the Baltic Fund for Nature, the Baltic Ringed Seal Friends Fund were involved in detailed focus group discussions of the draft EIA report, as well as the environmental surveys that have been carried out and their results.

Following these discussions, Nord Stream 2 and the experts agreed concrete recommendations to be taken into account in the final version of EIA documentation. These include encouraging natural plant recovery processes to the maximum extent possible and avoiding introducing invasive species during recultivation, using camera traps to improve monitoring of marine mammals on Maly Tyuters island and ensuring that trained marine mammal observers are stationed on ships during construction, as well as other measures.

In May 2017, following Nord Stream 2's initiative and with support from leading environmental organisations, a round table was held to evaluate the route options for the Russian landfall. To act on the recommendations put forward by experts during the round table, Nord Stream 2 carried out individual consultations on specific route selection issues, organised a meeting with the International Union for Conservation of Nature and proposed the draft EIA report for discussion by focus groups.

As part of the public discussions that started in April 2017, Nord Stream 2 has published a total of 13 comprehensive documents on its website describing in detail the environmental and social aspects of route selection and the project in Russia. To ensure that the public is duly informed, four community liaison offices were opened in Kingisepp and in settlements in the Kingisepp district, where hard copies of all documents are available for public review.

As the responsible developer of an international infrastructure project, Nord Stream 2 AG strives to avoid and minimise any impact on the environment by careful selection of the optimal route, technical design and construction method and through a comprehensive program of environmental protection measures.

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