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Land route plan for sea pipeline?

  • 2007-09-25
  • By Mike Collier

HELSINKI - Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland intend to submit a proposal to the European Commission that the route of the Nord Stream gas pipeline should run overland, press reports suggest.

"Solidarity is essential within the European Union, and all member states should have been involved already in the planning phase", said Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet in the wake of the government's rejection of a requested survey of the Estonian sea bed.

However, the plans for a land-line are likely to receive short schrift from Nord Stream. In any case, Finland has yet to rule out routing the pipeline along the Finnish coast and is making increasingly encouraging noises to Nord Stream in the wake of the Estonian decision.

"The decision by the Estonian government is regrettable", said Martti Poutanen from Finland's environment ministry.

Speaking to the country's national news agency, Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said that the possible routing of the Russian-German pipeline along the Finnish territorial waters is purely an environmental issue.

"We regard the construction of a gas pipeline as an advantage. Central Europe needs this connection, as it will enhance energy security in Europe. The project will nevertheless have to be carried out in a way that provides a maximum level of ecological sustainability," said Vanhanen.