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German lower house voted in favor of LNG terminal on Ruegen island defying local opposition

Despite strong opposition from the local governments, Germany's lower house of parliament on Friday passed a legal reform to speed up the construction of LNG terminals off the Baltic Sea coast, defying resistance from local governments and environmental groups.

The reform voted through on Friday includes fast-tracking the construction of two LNG floating terminals in Mukran on the Baltic Sea island of Ruegen with an annual capacity of 10 billion cubic metres (bcm) to be operated privately by Deutsche Regas by the beginning of 2024.

Some 370 parliamentarians voted in favour, 301 opposed and four abstained.

Local municipalities, the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and several environmental groups have said the project would harm tourism and marine life.

The DUH environmental group said it would have a profound and irreparable impact on threatened marine mammals, resting and migratory birds and fish migration routes.

Although project developer Gascade applied for a 50-kilometre (31-mile) pipeline in several individual sections to mitigate the environmental impact, the DUH said the terminal would be a catastrophe for marine life, according to Reuters report.

Germany started accelerating the construction of LNG infrastructure last year following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine that led to a sudden drop in piped Russian gas imports to Europe's biggest economy.

Germany already has floating storage regasification unit (FSRU) based LNG terminals in operation at Wilhelmshaven, Brunsbuettel and Lubmin. Two of those sites will be expanded.

Two permanent terminals in Stade and Brunsbuettel and a privately operated one in Wilhelmshaven are to replace some of the floating stations from 2026, resulting in higher capacity.