Until now, legislation has only covered the coastal area within the 12 nautical-mile limit. The government hopes to have the amended law in force before the end of 2001. The Upper House, representing the federal states, is expected to pass a resolution on the amendment on July 13. It has no powers to stymie the legislation, but the bill is designed as a framework law which will then be implemented through appropriate legislation at state level.
Prompted by environmental concerns, the German government is planning to "sharpen the conditions" under which the construction, operation and further development of offshore facilities like wind plant and oil platforms are authorised, both within and outside the 12 nautical-mile zone. The new regulations seek an "appropriate response" to proposals from environmental groups and other interested parties. The environment ministry also hopes to use parliamentary procedures now underway for a complete overhaul of the Federal Nature Protection Act (FNPA) to introduce rules that allow sea areas in the German exclusive economic zone to be protected.