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Sweden wants information on alternative routes for Baltic pipeline

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The Russian-German consortium that plans to build an underwater gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea has to present additional routes for its location, Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren said Wednesday.

The 1,200-kilometer pipeline was envisaged to go online in 2010 according to Nord Stream, a Russian-German joint-venture company. The pipeline would run from Viborg in Russia to Greifswald, Germany. Environmental impact studies were underway in several countries along the planned route for the pipeline, although Estonia recently said it would not allow Nord Stream to conduct seabed research in its territorial waters. Carlgren said that when Sweden receives an application “the project will be reviewed very carefully in accordance with Swedish legislation and international conventions.” “The pipeline’s impact on the Baltic Sea’s sensitive environment will be carefully studied,” he added in a statement. The pipeline has been the subject of heated debate in the Baltic region since 2005.

 
Several states bordering the Baltic have argued that it could disturb chemical weapons dumped in the sea after World War II. “The information from the company suggests that a more easterly route would better avoid environmental problems and risks,” Carlgren said, adding “it is up to the company to present what other routes are possible from an environmental and risk point of view, and why they have selected this route.” The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has earlier said it wanted Nord Stream to present alternative routes for the pipeline that was slated to be built off the Swedish island of Gotland, 90 kilometer from the mainland. Sweden is not dependent on Russian energy exports, but critics of the project have noted that Moscow has at times used energy as a means to gain political leverage, citing the example of Ukraine. (m&c.com)

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