Nord Stream, the Environment and the Law: Disentangling a Multijurisdictional Energy Project
59 Scandinavian Studies in Law (2014)
30 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2014
Date Written: December 6, 2013
The Nord Stream gas pipeline is one of the largest and most controversial energy infrastructure projects in Europe. In addition to technical and political challenges the project has navigated a web of substantive and procedural legal issues spanning five national jurisdictions in addition to EU- and international law. It has met with objections of different kinds. Some, including most of those having to do with environmental impacts, are linked to the specific route chosen. Others are directed more generally at the construction of a gas pipeline from Russia to Central Europe and its implications for inter alia energy security. The paper takes a closer look at the legal and policy context in which the idea of a submarine gas pipeline from Russia to Germany materialized and the national permit processes preceding its construction. The project’s transboundary nature, and the fact that it engages various areas of law, makes it an attractive case for analysing the consistency and dynamics between these areas, or spheres, of law. While the primary concern is the construction and application of rules pertaining to the protection of the environment these are also inextricably linked to rules defining the competences of different actors, and thus their ability to exercise jurisdiction over, and be held responsible for, the effects of the pipeline.
Keywords: Nord Stream, natural gas, submarine pipelines, Baltic Sea, energy infrastructure, Law of the Sea
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