Outside areas under German jurisdiction, the route of the planned high-pressure natural gas pipeline from Vyborg to Lubmin will cross the Exclusive Economic Zones of Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Russia, as well as Russian territorial waters in the Baltic Sea. In these countries, approval procedures and Environmental Impact Assessments have been carried out for the project. As the project implementation may have transboundary impacts in all Baltic Sea states, a transboundary Environmental Impact Assessment is mandatory under the Espoo Convention.
Under Art. 3, para. 1, the Espoo Convention requires that any state in which an activity that is likely to cause a significant adverse transboundary impact is being planned ("Party of origin") shall notify the potentially affected Parties as early as possible of the planned project and provide an opportunity to participate in the environmental impact assessment procedure. Under Art. 2, paras. 2 and 6, Art. 3, para. 8, and Art. 4, para. 2 of the Espoo Convention, the public shall be informed of, and be provided with possibilities for commenting on or objecting to, the proposed activity. The Convention was implemented by the Act of 25 February 1991 on environmental impact assessments in a transboundary context and on the amendment to the Convention adopted at the second conference of the parties in Sofia, on 27 February 2001 (Espoo-Vertragsgesetz of 7 June 2002, BGBl. II, p. 1406, BGBl. II 2003, p. 715).
The Parties of Origin, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Russia, notified the Affected Parties of the planned project in November 2006.
As a result of public and stakeholder consultation process carried out in the nine Baltic Sea countries during the notification phase, Nord Stream AG changed the route in November 2007 and presented an information document. The Parties of Origin passed on the information document to the Affected Parties, requesting them to comment.
In October 2008, based on additional investigations and statements received in the international consultation process, Nord Stream AG submitted an application for changed pipeline routing in the waters of Germany and Denmark. Germany and Denmark sent the pertinent documentation to the Affected Parties, asking them to comment taking into account the results of public hearings.
On 9 March 2009, Nord Stream AG submitted its Environmental Impact Assessment documentation for consultation under the Espoo Convention. The Parties of Origin Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Russia, began consultations with Germany as an Affected Party and submitted the document prepared, asking for comment by 8 June 2009.
Germany itself began consultations with all Baltic Sea states affected and sent them the documentation, asking for comment by 8 June 2009. The BSH received four statements from organisations in the states affected.
In the course of the consultation process, two expert meetings were held to present and discuss the study methods planned to be used by Nord Stream and the data to be collected.
Further information about the procedure is provided in the notification of approval.