The German Environmental Aid has lodged an objection to the first planned liquid gas terminal. The war in Ukraine is bad. But not so bad that you can therefore shorten German approval procedures.

Olaf Scholz was in Brandenburg two months ago to inaugurate the Tesla factory in Grünheide with Elon Musk. It took 730 days from the ground-breaking ceremony to the moment when the first cars rolled off the assembly line. German record. Scholz was delighted.

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He would like to apply this to the energy supply. We need four liquid gas terminals very quickly. Unfortunately, the construction of such a terminal takes eight years if you go through all the approval procedures properly. That could be eight very cold years as climate change isn’t coming fast enough to offset the Russian gas outage. So: Tesla speed. says the chancellor.

The next thing I heard on the subject was that Robert Habeck had begged the environmental groups not to sue the terminal in Wilhelmshaven, for which planning had progressed the furthest. Immediately outrage from the “taz” to the “Süddeutsche”: That sends the completely wrong signal. The war is bad. But just because Putin invaded Ukraine is no reason not to use the tried and tested approval procedures.

At the beginning of the month, the German Environmental Aid appealed. Especially in times of crisis, the principles of the rule of law must be preserved, which applies in particular to climate protection and environmental law, explained the managing director.

The association fears that the construction will irreversibly destroy the underwater biotope near Wilhelmshaven. Porpoises are also spotted off the coast. Who knows what impact the terminal construction would have on whales? There is always some animal that speaks against an intervention in nature. It is the essence of nature, if you will, that it stands in the way of any construction project.

Incidentally, the German Environmental Aid is the association that had German inner cities paralyzed before Corona because the concentration of nitrogen oxides in the air was allegedly too high. Did you know when the highest nitrogen oxide values ​​ever recorded were measured at measuring stations? In spring 2020 during the first lockdown, when road traffic in Germany had practically come to a standstill. If you now think that this would make the German Environmental Aid appear a little more modest: of course not!

The word of the hour is “time change”. Everything has to be rethought and evaluated. Let’s call it a professional deformation, but whenever I hear that everything is going to be completely, completely different, I think: Let’s see.

Do you remember the first months of Corona? The pandemic will open the door to a new world in which we and no longer me are the focus. Was so almost verbatim in the progressive-minded newspapers.

Or take the refugee crisis: We should fundamentally question ourselves, explained the Chancellor in one of her first press conferences, when thousands of people crossed the border every day. German thoroughness is great, but in the crisis everything has to be put to the test, including German thoroughness.

There was even a law against being too thorough, the “Standard Deviation Law”. If we’re going to go against thoroughness, let’s do it thoroughly. Nothing works in Germany without the corresponding regulation.

I’m the last person who would mind if we parted ways with some regulations. I would be happy if we found more freedom and less paternalism again. Unfortunately, it usually goes the other way.

Experts from the Federal Ministry of Justice did a count and came up with 246,944 federal regulations that citizens must observe. And that doesn’t even include the regulations of the federal states, municipalities and corporations under public law.

German bureaucracy is an inexhaustible subject. While doing research, colleague Alexander Neubacher came across the regulation for maintenance work on offshore wind farms. This regulation not only stipulates that the fitters will find sleeping bags and biscuits if they have to stay on the windmill longer than planned because of bad weather.

As long as everything moves as usual, you can get by with 246,944 federal regulations. Nothing unforeseen should come up. Like a pandemic. Or a war in Europe.

Last week I met a lawyer who operates wind farms in Schleswig-Holstein. What he reported from practice did not sound as if we would soon outsmart the Russians with our own energy. First he had to wait twelve years before he was allowed to repower his wind turbines. That’s what it’s called when old wind turbines are replaced with new ones. Actually a great thing, because the wind turbine then produces twice as much as before. Unfortunately, the distance rules had changed in the meantime. It’s bat season now. Everything runs at half speed because it cannot be ruled out that a bat might get lost in the rotor blades.

The lawyer puts his hopes in the Greens. If one party gets it right, it’s the Greens, he says. It’s like Hartz IV. The only ones who were able to modernize the labor market were the Social Democrats.

I’m not so sure about that. It would also make sense to reconsider the use of nuclear power. We have three remaining nuclear power plants that could still render us useful services if the gas goes out. But in December it should finally be over. The Green Environment Minister Steffi Lemke has an iron veto. Germany is sticking to its nuclear phase-out, even if the lights start to flicker because electricity is running out.

The green German would rather sit at home by candlelight than buy nuclear power for a day longer. Let them continue to rely on nuclear power in Finland and France and Great Britain and Sweden and Belgium. We know better than anyone what the devil’s stuff is!

Societies are surprisingly tough and inert. There is something comforting about that. Revolutions only work at gunpoint. But a little exercise would be nice, don’t you think?

Perhaps one could begin by revoking the non-profit status of Deutsche Umwelthilfe. That would be a measure whose beneficial effect would unfold immediately.

The readers love him or hate him, Jan Fleischhauer is indifferent to the least. You only have to look at the comments on his columns to get an idea of ​​how much people are moved by what he writes. He was at SPIEGEL for 30 years, and at the beginning of August 2019 he switched to FOCUS as a columnist.

Fleischhauer himself sees his task as giving voice to a world view that he believes is underrepresented in the German media. So when in doubt, against the herd instinct, commonplaces and stereotypes. His texts are always amusing – perhaps it is this fact that provokes his opponents the most.

You can write to our author: By email to or on Twitter @janfleischhauer.

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