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Off gas from energy policies of common interest: 4 NGOs denounce the EU

In January approved the 5th edition of the list of energy policy projects of common interest

(Sustainabilityenvironment.com) – The EU has 22 weeks to demonstrate that 13 billion gas-related projects, benefiting from simplified and faster energy policies, comply with EU climate laws. Otherwise, the case opened by ClientEarth, Friends of the Earth, Food & Water Action Europe and CEE Bankwatch Network will end up in the European Court of Justice

Europe must clear all the fast-track areas for large fossil gas projects, or explain in detail why they do not have a negative impact on the environment and climate. This is demanded by 4 NGOs with a legal action that could block 13 billion euros of work, included by Brussels in the list of Projects of Common Interest (PCI) ie energy policy projects of common interest.

The prosecution? These projects are at odds with European climate laws and have only had a green light because Europe has not taken into account the impact of methane emissions that would result.

“The Commission has not taken into account the impact of methane emissions from gas infrastructure projects, despite evidence that these are substantial. This is illegal, as it is in direct conflict with EU climate laws and its legal obligations under the Paris agreement,” explains Guillermo Ramo, a lawyer working for ClientEarth.

At the beginning of January, the EU officially approved the fifth CIP list, which includes several energy policy projects of common interest linked to the development of gas infrastructure. Although the reform of the criteria for CIP lists renders totally gas-related and other fossil-based projects inadmissible, those works deemed essential for ensuring the Union’s energy security are accepted as an exception.

The reference projects

The most discussed is EastMed, the gas pipeline that should connect Cyprus and the deposits of the eastern Mediterranean with continental Europe. Taken hostage by the disputes between Turkey and neighboring countries and recently also dumped by the United States, the project may never see the light of day. But like all the others on the PCI list, it would benefit from simplified procedures for the assessment of the environmental impact and for the authorization process in general. In addition to EastMed, the 5th list includes several works concerning Italy. Including the Melita Transgas, an on- and offshore pipeline that would establish the interconnection between Italy and Malta, and the Poseidon gas pipeline between Puglia and Greece, which would be the last stretch of EastMed.

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