Several major environmental and nature conservation groups have criticized the proposed law to rapidly expand liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals. The law in its planned form ensures an oversupply of natural gas and jeopardizes compliance with the climate protection law, according to an open letter from the associations to the members of the Bundestag of the governing coalition of SPD, Greens and FDP, which is available to the German Press Agency.
The LNG Acceleration Act aims to accelerate the construction of floating and fixed LNG terminals. Since the start of the Russian attack on Ukraine, the German government has been trying harder to become less dependent on Russia as a gas supplier. One alternative is LNG, for which the necessary infrastructure has so far been lacking in Germany.
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In order to change that, the new law should allow the approval authorities to temporarily omit certain procedural steps. Later, the plants will then be operated with climate-neutral hydrogen.
The environmentalists do not categorically reject the project, as the letter shows. However, they are calling for the draft passed in the cabinet on Tuesday to be changed in three places: First, the law should precisely define how big the impending energy emergency is and what LNG capacities are actually needed to overcome it. Landside stationary terminals, unlike floating terminals, should not be part of the law at all, it is said, because they are only ready for use in the medium term anyway.
Second, the associations are calling for the term approvals for the terminals for LNG use to be drastically reduced – to a term until the end of 2030 instead of the end of 2043. A longer term does not fit the government’s climate protection goals and stands in the way of the planned ramp-up of a green hydrogen economy.
And thirdly, the planned suspension of the so-called environmental impact assessment should only apply to floating LNG terminals that can still be operational in the winter of the current year.