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TALLINN - Russia vowed on Dec. 10 to keep Finland fully informed about the environmental impact from the controversial Nord Stream natural gas pipeline it is currently building on the bed of the Baltic Sea, reports AFP. Moscow’s commitment was spelled out in a memorandum of understanding signed by Russia’s natural resources minister and the Finnish environment minister.
“The parties agreed to submit current environmental data obtained from the ecological monitoring program [that accompanies] the construction of the Russian and Finnish sections of the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline,” the Russian ministry said in a statement.
The agreement was inked in Saint Petersburg on the sidelines of talks between Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Finnish counterpart Mari Kiviniemi. The data exchange agreement will expire once the section is completed in December 2012, the Russian ministry said.
Nord Stream was granted a permit in February to construct the gas pipeline in Finland’s waters. The project already has approval from every other country through which the pipeline will pass.
But the project has sparked heated protests from environmentalists who worry about the impact of both construction and any potential accidents on the sea floor. Finnish and Estonian environmental groups took their case to Finland’s Supreme Administrative Court in October after a lower court refused to hear their complaint.
The 7.4-billion-euro project to build the 1,220-kilometer parallel pipelines to deliver Russian natural gas to Germany is led by Russian state-run energy giant Gazprom in partnership with Germany’s E.On Ruhrgas and BASF-Wintershall.