South Stream will not harm Bulgaria's environment – minister

Bulgaria's Minister of Environment and Water has assured that the South Stream gas pipeline will not cause environmental damage, provided that the EIA report is observed.

Mihaylova argued that the project for the construction of the Bulgarian section of the South Stream gas pipeline would be environmentally-friendly if the investor complied with the recommendations, measures and instructions listed in the environmental impact assessment (EIA).

In a Saturday interview for Darik radio, she specified that only the EIA of the land section of the gas pipeline was ready, while a second EIA report on the underwater Black Sea section and the site where the pipe was to surface, the area of Pasha dere, was yet to be prepared.

On Thursday, an official ceremony was held to mark the welding of the first joint of the Bulgarian stretch of the South Stream gas pipeline.

In her Saturday interview, Mihaylova, as cited by, pointed out that the EIA report of the South Stream project was based on 27 public discussions with people living in localities on the route of the pipeline.

She said that all proposals had been taken into consideration during the preparation of the EIA report which included 49 measures and 56 recommendations which were mandatory for the investor.

Bulgaria's Environment Minister informed that the EIA report was being appealed by non-governmental organizations over fears that Varna's Rakitnika district would become very noisy due to the nearby compressor station of the gas pipeline which was to be built less than 3km away from the outermost houses of the neighborhood.

Mihaylova noted that she had been assured by the investor that the site would not become noisy if the recommendations, instructions and measures listed in the EIA report were implemented.

She said that she did not expect substantial changes to the 5000-page EIA report as a result of the appeal procedure.

Bulgaria's Environment Minister further explained that the government had no plans to revoke the moratorium on shale gas drilling through hydraulic fracturing.

She added that Bulgarian laws required a particularly cumbersome EIA procedure to take place before shale gas exploration activities.

Mihaylova specified that there were three groups of countries in Europe with different attitudes to the issue of shale gas, one group being against fracking (Bulgaria included), the other one being pro- shale gas drilling (the UK, Poland, Romania), and the third one steering a middle course, saying that shale gas exploration activities could take place in line with very stringent measures.

Adapted from Novinite