ZUG, Switzerland, April 11 (UPI) -- Public hearings for a Finnish extension of the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea are scheduled through April, the project consortium said.
"The purpose of the environmental impact assessment procedure is to ensure that environmental impacts of a project are assessed and that they are then considered in the decision making process," the group stated.
Five public hearings are scheduled throughout the country starting Tuesday in Helsinki. The project consortium -- Gazprom, Wintershall, E.ON Ruhrgas, Nederlandse Gasunie and GDF Suez -- said the EIA procedure will be followed by a permitting phase.
The Finnish route section will be 230 miles long. The EIA examines water quality, ship traffic and the future use of the Finnish economic zone.
"Nord Stream AG is committed to an open, transparent and active dialogue and exchange of information with the environmental authorities, citizens and other stakeholders in all the Baltic Sea states," the group stated.
The group said the objective of the extension is to ensure energy security with "one or two additional pipelines" extending from Russia.
Nord Stream is a twin pipeline through the Baltic Sea to Germany. Gazprom this week said an extension could eventually reach British shores.