"RREC provided tangible input towards organization and technical support of the Dialogue on Environment between EU and Russia and successfully implemented coordination of negotiation process"

Ulrich Weins. Head of the Department on Science and Environment, European Comission Delegation to Russia

Public involvement in EIA procedure for Nord-Stream project

Performed Measures
Information Meeting for NGOs

  • Preparatory Stage
  • Information Meeting
  • Results
  • Press Briefing
  • Briefing Results

Analysis of the Preliminary EIA
Educational Seminar for NGOs

  • Preparatory Stage
  • Educational Seminar
  • Seminar Results

Working Meeting of Action Group
Public Hearings for the Russian Part of the Finnish Bay
General Conclusions

Announcement on the Info Meeting & Press Briefing
List of participants of the Info Meeting
List of journalists
Examples of publications about the Info Meeting (in Russian)
Analysis of preliminary EIA materials (in Russian)
Additional questions from NGOs & replies from Nord Stream
Information about the Educational Seminar
List of the participants of the Educational Seminar (in Russian)
Presentations by experts at the Seminar

Proposals and comments by NGOs for the public hearings

Within the framework of the RREC Project Russian NGOs of the Baltic Region are involved in the national and international EIA procedures related to the Nord Stream Project (NSP). Before the RREC Project started the Russian NGO activity had been very low. Russian NGOs did not believe that they could do anything to be heard and informed on the current situation. Since the Project began Russian NGOs have been receiving updated information on the permanent basis, asking their questions and getting back replies from the Nord Stream upon their address to the Company, expressing their concerns on NSP impact on the environment.
RREC Project raised Russian NGO activity and united their efforts so that they could participate in the EIA procedures and plan their actions to monitor NSP in the future in transboundary context. NGOs from the Baltic Region came to the conclusion that they need a joint meeting of NGOs from the countries affected by the NSP to discuss their future activity.


1.Information meeting for the public of the Russian part of the Baltic region organized jointly by the RREC and the Nord Stream Company and a press briefing.
2.Analysis of the preliminary EIA materials for the Russian part of the Finnish Bay displayed in the Vyborg Administration office prior to the public hearings, which did not take place at the stage of the project investments substantiation stage. The purpose of this analysis was to inform the public about the completeness and adequacy of the materials prepared for the preliminary EIA.
3.Seminar for public organisations of Saint-Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast. The purpose of the seminar: preparations for the public hearings on the part of the project to be implemented in the Finnish Bay and adjacent onshore area (at the stage of the feasibility study); assessment of the environmental impact of this and similar projects (submersion of chemical weapons and explosives; status of ornithofauna and ichthyofauna; special protected nature territories; fishing industry).
4.Working meeting of an action group of NGOs and a representative of the RREC for preparation of comments and proposals for the public hearings.
5.Participation of the public of Saint-Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast in public hearings organized by the Nord Stream Company and the Vyborg municipality administration.

1. Information meeting for the public of the Russian part of the Baltic region
Preparatory Stage
1.A decision about the need for a special information meeting in connection with the Nord Stream Project for the Russian public in the Baltic region was taken during the International Environmental Forum “Day of the Baltic Sea”. The Company organized a round table at the Forum dedicated to the Nord Stream Project. However, even after the round table, representatives of NGOs had many open questions relating to the project and investigations carried out by the Company with the purpose to assess the potential environmental impacts in the process of construction and operation of the trunk gas pipeline laid on the bed sea across the Baltic Sea.
2.From the moment of the commencement of the negotiations between the RREC and the Company about the date, venue and format of such an information meeting, the Nord Stream Company defrayed almost all the expenses associated with organisation of this event.
3.Extensive work has been performed to inform the NGOs of the region about the planned meeting and identify the interest for the Nord Stream Project from public organisations and independent experts.

Information Meeting
The information meeting was held on June 28, 2007 in Saint-Petersburg.
The announcement of the meeting is attached hereto (Annex 1).
The meeting was attended by four representatives of the Nord Stream Company, a representative of the Peter Gaz Company responsible for the EIA of the entire offshore section of the project and 26 representatives of NGOs and the scientific community of the region.
Information was presented at the meeting about the project implementation, including investigations of potential environmental impacts and implementation of the EIA procedure. Representatives of the independent public asked questions and presented their comments relating to the EIA procedure and possible negative environmental impacts. Due to the time constraints, representatives of NGOs and independent experts could not ask all questions they wanted to ask, and the parties agreed to continue the dialogue in the course of their daily work according to the following procedure. NGOs will prepare their additional questions relating to the EIA procedure in writing and send them to the Company. The Company will reply to all participants of the information meeting in writing. Questions relating directly to potential negative environmental impacts will be prepared by the public prior to the forthcoming public hearings (scheduled at that time for July 13, 2007 in Vyborg – the Russian part of the Finnish Bay, stage “Investments Substantiation”) *.
The list of the participants of the meeting is attached hereto (Annex 2).

Results of the Information Meeting
1.The Nord Stream Company declared its active information policy and willingness to provide information about the project not only on the Company’s web-site, but also by circulating it to the interested NGOs in a regular way, answer any current questions and inquiries, and agree upon procedures for interrelations with the objective to pursue its open information policy.
2.NGOs and independent experts demonstrated their interest and preparedness to monitor the implementation of the EIA procedure and in the future also compliance of the Company with its obligations relating to the project monitoring in the process of gas pipeline operation.
3.NGOs obtained more information about the project and the EIA procedure; at the same time some gaps were identified in their awareness of certain aspects of the project.
4.The Nord Stream Company and the public have agreed upon a procedure for their further communications.
Press Briefing
A press briefing was conducted immediately after the information meeting. Five representatives of NGOs and four representatives of the Company answered questions asked by 10 journalists of the given region.
The list of the journalists present at the briefing is attached hereto (Annex 3).
Briefing Results
The information about the meeting was published in more than 20 different publications in mass media and broadcast by radio.
Some examples are attached hereto (Annex 4).

2. Analysis of the preliminary materials for EIA (PEIA)
According to the data of OOO “Peter Gaz” the PEIA materials (Stage “Investments Substantiation” for the Russian part of the Finnish Bay) were displayed in Vyborg for the public. The public hearings were scheduled for July 13, 2007.*
Detailed familiarization of independent experts representing the public was organized with support from the RREC and an analysis of those materials was prepared for subsequent circulation among the NGOs.
A review consisting of 30 pages of text and over 25 maps, schematic plans and diagrams were made available at the RREC site www.rusrec.ru. The text of the review is presented also in Annex 5 hereto.
1.The public of Saint-Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast, as well as other regions was made familiar with the areas of investigations carried out for preparation of the next stage of EIA.
2.An independent expert representing the public has prepared himself for a review of the EIA material at the next stage of the project, i.e. the feasibility study.
3.Based on a comparison of the preliminary EIA (“Investments Substantiation”) prepared by OAO “Gazprom” with the EIA (“Feasibility Study of the Project”) conducted by the Nord Stream Company, it was possible to assess, to what degree the latter company had fulfilled its promises with respect to its openness and interest for nature conservation.
4.Additional questions were sent to the Company on behalf of NGOs and replies were obtained to some of them. Annex 6.

* The public hearings scheduled for July 13, 2007 did not take place. Or the local administration conducted them in a very secret way. Anyhow, we have received information from the Nord Stream Company and OOO “Peter Gaz” that the public hearings for the Russian sector of the Finnish Bay (at the stage of the investments substantiation) had been cancelled. Later, the Vyborg administration declared (at the public hearings at the feasibility study stage on November 23, 2007) that the public hearings on July 13 did take place.

3. Educational Seminar for NGOs of Saint-Petersburg, Leningrad Oblast and Vyborg

Preparatory stage:
1.In connection with the fact that the majority of NGO representatives involved in the process of public supervision over the activities undertaken in connection with the Nord Stream Project are not specialists in the fields relating to the main environmental threats associated with construction and operation of a trunk gas pipeline, the RREC had decided that a special seminar should be organized for NGOs on the respective problems.
2.For this purpose, the preliminary EIA materials for the stage of investments substantiation, the EIA materials for the feasibility study, as well as the EIA report for the onshore section of the gas pipeline were studied and discussions conducted with experts in the region potentially to be affected.
3.An independent expert was selected for assessing a preliminary list of potential specialists to be invited for participation in the seminar (their engagement in the Nord Stream project and the level of knowledge of the relevant aspects were assessed).
4.Experts were selected in a very thorough way and were then invited to make presentations on the respective issues.
5.Invitations were sent to the NGOs of the region and confirmations of their participation in the seminar obtained.
Training seminar
The seminar was held on November 20, 2007 in Saint-Petersburg, in the training centre “Phoenix”, Saint-Petersburg State University. Presentations on the following subjects were made: submersion of chemical weapons and explosives, threats to ornithofauna and ichthyofauna, special protected nature territories, fishing industry, etc. The public announcement of the seminar is attached hereto (Annex 7).
Experts were invited for participation in the seminar from the Saint-Petersburg State University; Institute of Oceanography of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IO RAN), Atlantic Division; SevMorGeo; VSEGEI; GOSNIORH; Union for Chemical Safety; as well as representatives of the NGOs and the scientific community of the region. The list of the participants is attached (Annex 8).
Seminar results
1.For the first time the NGOs were provided with comprehensive and adequate information about the potential environmental threats associated with construction and operation of the Nord Stream gas pipeline. It was pointed out what particular aspect need special attention in the EIA materials and in the process of the project monitoring during the construction and operation stages. The presentations are attached hereto (Annex 9).
2.Experts presented also their specific proposals relating to further actions to be undertaken by the public and independent experts.
3.A decision was taken by the NGOs to organize one more working meeting to discuss comments on the EIA materials, define questions and comments on this basis and draw up a memorandum on behalf of NGOs.

4. Working meeting of an action group for preparation of comments and proposals for the public hearings
The meeting was held on November 21, 2007. It was attended by representatives of NGO “Friends of the Baltic Sea”, Transboundary Environmental Information Agency, Project “Monitoring of BPS”, Association of environmental journalists of Saint-Petersburg, RREC and Section “Environment and Energy” of the European Academy of Natural Sciences. The participants discussed comments and proposals for the public hearings made on behalf of the organisations represented at the meeting and the need for preparation of a joint memorandum.
Results of the working meeting
1.Proposals by NGO “Friends of the Baltic Sea”.
2.Proposals by NGO “Transboundary Environmental Information Agency”.
3.Proposals by the Public Project “Monitoring of BPS”.
4.Memorandum by NGOs.
The above documents are attached hereto (Annex 10).

5.Public hearings for the Russian part of the Finnish Bay at the feasibility study stage

The public hearings for the Russian part of the Finnish Bay and the adjacent land area organized by the Nord Stream Company and the local self-government bodies were conducted in Vyborg on November 23, 2007 with participation of representatives of NGOs of Saint-Petersburg, Leningrad Oblast and Vyborg, as well as journalists.
During the first part of the hearings presentations prepared by the Company were made. Presentations were also made by a project engineer responsible for the EIA of the Russian portion of the pipeline, a PR specialist, and a representative of OOO “Peter Gaz”, the company responsible for the EIA of the entire offshore section of the project.
The second part of the hearings was dedicated to questions, comments and proposals by the public. Especially well prepared for the hearings were the participants of the information meeting and the training seminars organized in due time by the RREC. On behalf of their organisations, they presented to the Nord Stream Company the documents listed above, i.e., their proposals in writing, which was very important, and a memorandum of the NGOs (see above). A representative of the Nord Stream Company in charge of public relations, Ms. Irina Vasilyeva, requested the NGOs to send those documents directly to the company.
The secretary of the hearings and representative of the local administration promised to attach the copies of the above documents to the brief minutes of the hearings and register them.
It should be stated in the brief minutes, according to the Nord Stream representative, that the comments and proposals made by the public will be taken into consideration.
The brief minutes are attached hereto (Annex 11).

Currently the EIA materials are open for the public and the NGOs have the right to send their comments and proposals to the Nord Stream Company until December 24, 2007.
This information has been published in the ENWL circulation for the NGOs of the Baltic region. The NGOs participating in the information meeting have obtained the EIA materials on a CD according to an agreement reached with the Nord Stream Company.
The brief minutes of the public hearings were prepared by OOO “Peter Gaz” and will be circulated, according to the company’s representative, to the participants of the information meeting in the nearest future.

During the public hearings not only answers to the important questions raised by the public, but also the following significant information was obtained:

1.It is planned to organize an additional EIA for the logistics of the Nord Stream Project (transport, transfer, etc.). Currently, the overall concept of the logistics is being defined.
2.Five major sites for waste storage will be located outside of the territory of Russia.
3.A seminar is scheduled for November 30, 2007 for trawl fishing companies with the objective to ensure safety of trawling within the zone of impact of the trunk gas pipeline.
4.The Company is open to any proposals by NGOs and experts with respect to future measures aimed at demonstrating advanced approaches to organisation of the business and responsibility of the Company for the communities living at the Baltic Sea coast.
5.During the first quarter of 2008, Rosprirodnadzor (so far alone) plans to conduct a review of the part of the project to be constructed in the Russian sector of the Finnish Bay and adjacent land areas, as soon as all required approvals from the relevant agencies will be obtained.

1.The NGOs of the region are willing now to be involved in the Nord Stream project. Earlier they believed that any actions from their part with respect to the project were useless, but now they have grounds to hope that certain requirements set by them to the project (as well as their expectations from the Nord Stream Company) can be met provided that they undertake correct and consistent measures in this respect.
2.Part of the public in the given region have consolidated and found common language for discussion of the Nord Stream project. They are willing to continue their efforts for assessing the EIA materials and for monitoring the project in the future.
3.The NGOs of the region have obtained adequate and comprehensive information about the project, which was not available to them earlier.
4.The NGOs obtained the required information about the EIA materials one month prior to the public hearings, as prescribed by the EIA procedure.
5.The NGOs of the region obtained in due time information about the planned public hearings for the Russian part of the Finnish Bay and were able to prepare themselves for participation in the public hearings.
6.The NGOs of the region had an opportunity to prepare their proposals and comments on the project and the EIA procedure in writing and obtain a reply to them from the company.
7.The NGOs of the region have gained new experience in communications with a company implementing a transboundary project.
8.The NGOs of the region have strengthened their willingness to monitor projects associated with commercial activities at the Baltic Sea and around it.
9.The NGOs of the region have obtained additional resources for their activities and are currently preparing their proposals relating to establishment of a body within the framework of the existing information centre, which would initiate appropriate actions of NGOs in case of any projects similar to the Nord Stream project.
10.The NGOs of the region made a proposal to organize an international meeting for NGOs from the countries affected by the Nord Stream project. A report on the international EIA of the project will be ready by the middle of 2008, and an international meeting is scheduled for the first quarter of the next year.

1.Announcement on the information meeting and press-briefing.
2.List of the participants of the information meeting.
3.List of journalists participating in the press briefing.
4.Examples of publications about the information meeting.
5.Review of preliminary EIA materials (feasibility study stage).
6.Additional questions and inquiries by the NGOs on the EIA procedure and replies by the company.
7.Information about the educational seminar for NGOs.
8.List of participants of the educational seminar.
9.Presentations by experts at the educational seminar.
10.Proposals and comments by NGOs prepared for the public hearings.