The transboundary environmental report (Espoo Report) for the Nord Stream gas pipeline across the Baltic Sea will be ready for public participation in early March 2009, the consortium Nord Stream AG reported Wednesday. Until then, the Nord Stream consortium will incorporate all final comments and remarks. This was confirmed last Friday at an international consultation meeting in Copenhagen with officials from the nine Baltic coastal countries.
It was confirmed that Nord Stream will submit the report in the nine languages of the Baltic Sea states by the end of this month. The authorities will then make the transboundary environmental report available for public participation in line with the national legislation in each country.
The UNECE Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) sets out the obligations of parties to assess the environmental impact of certain activities at an early stage of planning. It also lays down the general obligation of states to notify and consult each other on all major projects under consideration that are likely to have a significant environmental impact across national borders. The Espoo Convention was opened for signature in Espoo (Finland) on 25 February 1991 and came into force on 10 September 1997.
Nord Stream's process under the Espoo Convention has started in April 2006. Nord Stream's Espoo Report is the result of over two years of consultations with national authorities, international organizations, NGOs, environmental agencies and individuals. Nord Stream has participated in 15 Espoo meetings bringing together the focal points of all Baltic Sea countries. These designated country representatives have met with one another and the project developer regularly to assess the progress of the preparation of the Report and discuss and co-ordinate further steps in the planning and approval procedures.
In addition, Nord Stream has participated in more than 20 public hearings and took part in numerous public discussions and expert seminars.