Against the backdrop of uncertain Russian energy imports, the German cabinet has approved - in a written circulation procedure - the "Formulation aid for the draft law on accelerating the use of liquefied natural gas (LNGG)". In essence, it is intended to regulate an accelerated procedure for approving the construction and operation of both fixed and floating LNG terminals (FSRUs), as well as the construction of connecting pipelines to the gas network.
The reason given for the easing of permits is the tense situation on the gas market following the Russian attack, which has pushed up prices even further, which are already high due to Corona, and also the fact that a complete interruption of gas supplies from Russia cannot be ruled out.
Specifically, the LNG Acceleration Act provides that approval authorities may temporarily waive procedural requirements based on EU law, for example in the area of environmental impact assessment. The EIA Directive already provides for a possibility of exemption for such special situations, which would now be "drawn upon and spelled out" by the German law, according to the statement. Important substantive approval requirements under immission control law, in particular under the European requirements of the Seveso III Directive and also under water law, would not be changed, however, the BMWK emphasizes.
Recent statements by associations have shown that the LNG Acceleration Act is also intended to define the construction of the terminals as being in the "overriding public interest" and that "rights of action would be further restricted and participation periods shortened," as Deutsche Umwelthilfe had put it. The operation of the terminals with fossil LNG is also to be limited until 2040.
In the next step, the regulations are to be introduced to the Bundestag by the parliamentary groups of the governing coalition and further discussed in the parliamentary procedure.