Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V. (DUH), a non-profit environmental and consumer protection association, has filed an objection demanding an immediate halt to the construction of the planned Baltic Sea LNG terminal for which initial works have started.
Illustration only. Source: RWE
Earlier this month, the environmentalist group voiced its concerns over the LNG terminal which involves the construction of a special offshore platform in the Baltic Sea, around 5–6 kilometres east of the island of Rügen. It will have a capacity of up to 38 billion cubic metres of gas per year and is to be connected to the gas network in Lubmin with a 38-kilometre offshore pipeline through the ecologically highly sensitive Bay of Greifswald.
DUH warned that the construction of the pipeline, for which energy company RWE submitted the application with the Stralsund Mining Authority, would be a huge threat to tourism on Rügen, for the Greifswalder Bodden, the Baltic Sea, and the surrounding protected areas.
While the announcement of the approval has not been made by the responsible mining authority, the initial work on the Baltic Sea LNG terminal began this weekend, DUH said.
According to the association, an offshore working platform arrived off Sellin on the island of Rügen this Sunday, just a few days after Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig announced that an LNG terminal off Sellin was not an option.
“The DUH not only has serious concerns about nature conservation but also sees no energy need for the monster terminal without a gas shortage”, the group explained.
RWE, which is implementing the Baltic Sea LNG project as a service provider on behalf of the German government, has confirmed that the initial work began in the Baltic Sea for the planned construction of two more terminals for LNG east of Rügen.
This is “merely exploratory work” that has been approved by the Baltic Sea Waterways and Shipping Authority, a spokesman for the energy company said on Sunday in response to an inquiry, German press agency dpa-AFX reports.
“The work was taking place as part of the Baltic Sea LNG project, which RWE was implementing as a service provider on behalf of the German government. Two special ships are being used for the exploration work. It is customary for offshore projects to be preceded by a careful examination of the ground conditions and the subsurface. This also includes checking for old World War II munitions that may still be lying in the ground”, the press agency cites RWE’s statement.
Sascha Müller-Kraenner, Federal Managing Director of the DUH, said: “The energy company RWE remains true to its reputation and seems to be building the LNG terminal off Rügen without considering losses. This is a serious loss of confidence a few days after Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig announced that the location was ‘not an option’. The fact that work is taking place here during the resting period of the birds and in the middle of the herring spawning season is untenable under nature conservation law.
“It is still unclear whether there is even a permit for construction work. We call on the Stralsund Mining Authority as the competent authority to immediately create transparency and publish all documents. In addition, the authority must immediately prohibit RWE’s work and check whether criminal investigations into illegal encroachment into protected areas also need to be carried out here.”