Archive for September, 2005

Sep 29 2005
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Saving Iceland Gathering


Saving Iceland Gathering
Nottingham, UK 28th – 30th Oct 2005

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Sep 28 2005

Environmental Facts and Figures of the Kárahnjúkar Project


From The Icelandic Society for the Protection of Birds

The building of a gigantic hydropower station has started on the northern edge of Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull in Iceland. The power station is needed for the provision of 770 Megawatts for an aluminium smelter being planned by Alcoa in Eastern Iceland, with a capacity of 370,000 metric tons per year. In order for this power capacity to be delivered, one of Iceland’s largest glacial rivers will have to be diverted into another large glacial river, and huge reservoirs will be required in order to maintain the power capacity required throughout the year. The facts and figures of this planned massive intervention in this unspoilt wilderness area are as follows:

• Reservoirs: the largest (Hálslón) will flood 57 square km of land, and a further smaller reservoirs will submerge another 10 square km.

• Dams: the biggest one, in the canyon at Kárahnjúkar, will be 190m high and 770m long; 3 medium-sized dams are collectively 32m high and 1000m long. Additional smaller dams will be built.

•The water will be diverted to the turbines through a 70 km long tunnel/gallery.

• The 150 km long glacial river, Jökulsá á Dal, which has carved out for itself one of the deepest and most attractive canyons in Europe (Dimmugljúfur Canyon, 15 km long – 200 m deep), will be converted to an insignificant stream.

•The diversion of the waters into another glacial river will result in immense changes to the Lagarfljót glacial river (140 km long). Its natural drainage will have to be artificially enlarged and the huge estuary delta will have to be reconstructed.

• Altogether, 3,000 square km or 3% of Icelands total landmass will be affected by this irreversible intervention in the environment. The area affected, where the natural environment and habitats will be destroyed, extends from the edge of the Vatnajökull Glacier to the estuary of the Héraðsflói glacial river.

• A total of 40 square km of land now covered with vegetation will be submerged forever. Soil erosion in the central highlands is one of the greatest environmental problems Iceland has to cope with. It must be feared that the planned reservoirs, where the deposits carried by the glacial rivers will end up (some 10 million metric tons per year), poses an erosion danger when the water level in the reservoirs sink. Yearly water level fluctations of the Hálslón reservoir are 75 m and up to 3/4 of the reservoir will be exposed to wind erosion. This will occur in /winter and spring, when the water reserves will be drawn on. This is the time of year for the wildest storms and even more vegetation will be threatened and covered by the masses of sand and dust carried by violent winds. The effected area of soil erosion will be up to 400 square km.

• A unique former geothermal region with plant fossils will be flooded.

• Flora and fauna: The affected area is one of the few regions in Iceland where the soil and vegetation are still more or less intact. Opponents of the project point out that the project would have unforeseeable consequences for the water table.

• This part of Iceland is home to 1500-2000 reindeer (Rangifer tarrandus) whose summer pastures would be flooded. The total population of reindeer in Iceland is around 4000 animals.

• Some 400-600 female harbour seals (Phoca vitulina vitulina) breed every year on the Jökulsá á Dal delta. By redirecting the river the colony (3-4% of the Icelandic population) would be destroyed.

• The Kárahnjúkar project would affect two IBA’s (BirdLife – Important Bird Areas). Among the bird species whose existence is threatened or would be affected by the changes which the project would bring are:

• Red-throated Diver (Gavia stellata) – 220 pairs
• Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus) – 3800 pairs affected
570 nests would be flooded by the Hálslón reservoir and 2200 pairs would in immediate danger.
9-13.000 moulting geese in the Eyjabakkar IBA will be directly affected by the project.
• Greylag Goose (Anser anser) – 2000 breeding pairs, 10.000 moulting birds affected
• Pintail (Anas acuta) – 100 pairs; 20% of the total Icelandic population

• Shoveler (Anas clypeata) – 5 pairs, one of the rarest Icelandic duck species
• Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) – 27 pairs
• Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) – 1000-2000 pairs
• Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) – over 700 pairs
• Great Skua (Stercorarius skua) – 265 pairs, 5% of the total population
• Arctic Skua (Stercorarius parasiticus) – some 1300 breeding pairs (possibly the world’s largest breeding colony in Úthérað IBA)

Icelandic Society for the Protection of Birds
P.O. Box 5069 • 125 Reykjavík, Iceland • Tel: 562 0477 • Fax: 551 6413
 fuglavernd at fuglavernd.is

ISPB (Icelandic Society for the Protection of Birds) in English

Sep 23 2005
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Direct Actions at Anode Conference and Elsewhere


ALCOA to hell

This time around Reykjavík was host to an International Conference on Anode Rodding Plants for Primary Aluminium Smelters. At the conference, which was largely funded by Icelandic tax payers’ money, Iceland was yet again being offered up for sale as a cheap country for aluminium smelting, while undesirable points of view were unwelcome.

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So Saving Iceland decided to invite themselves

On the morning of 21 September delegates woke up to a noisy bunch of protestors standing outside the Hotel Nordica blowing whistles and horns and banging away on pots and drums, just to remind the delegates and their hosts that there is active and unfailing resistance to the systematic destruction of Icelandic nature and the increase in pollution of our environment.

Same day in the late afternoon the representatives of the most polluting industry in the world were treated with champagne and canapés at the Reykjavík Municipality. At the same time an International Transport week was being celebrated in Reykjavík; its stated purpose was “to raise awareness among the public on the necessity of reducing pollution caused by traffic”. Greenhouse gas emissions from the ALCOA smelter in Reyðarfjörður will be equal to that of 172.000 cars; the entire car-fleet of Iceland!

Together with NatureWatch and youngsters of Ungrót, Saving Iceland organized another noise protest outside the Municipality as the mayor welcomed delegates of the conference. A heavy police presence was deemed necessary to protect the polluting fat cats while they sipped champagne and listened to fawning speeches of Icelandic dignitaries. For two hours environmentalists put on street performances and vigorously banged on their drums. A large window on the side of the building gave the delegates a good view of the crowd and their banners.

priceof aluminium

The protestors were content with their ample supplies of green skyr (Icelandic dairy product very useful for splashing on poisoners of the earth!) and in the spirit of sharing offered the delegates to have some on their way out from the mayor’s visit. This generosity caused unexplained tremors amongst the cops and delegates alike. Perhaps bad memories from last June had something to do with it…

moon

A 14 year old protestor was arrested for
mooning at the aluminium sophisticates!

23 September

Delegates of the conference visited the aluminium smelters at Straumsvík and Grundartangi. Saving Iceland went to the ALCAN factory to warn them what aluminium smelting can do to their health.

welcome2

To indicate solidarity with the people who have suffered from ALCAN’s immoral and inhuman working practices around the world the protestors sang The Alcan Song:

“It’s ALCAN the Aluminium Man
The Aluminium Man with the Aluminium Plan
For making lots of aluminium
Out of other peoples land!

Will this Man of Aluminium
Realize what he’s done,
Once he’s done what he is about to start?
He’s got aluminium, but he’s got no heart!”

Meanwhile ALCAN’s flag was stamped on, torn and finally burnt.

stamp

Yes, there was some dancing too

Two people were illegally arrested for throwing a harmless and perfectly legal smoke-bomb into an open field. One of them was arrested for driving a “stolen” car from the protest, even if the owner of the car gave immediate proof thathe had his permission to drive the car! Both were held for five hours and released without charge.

finger

Below is a statement from the protestors:

“Today delegates of the 3rd International Conference on Anode Rodding Plants for Primary Aluminium Smelters in Reykjavík are due to visit the aluminium smelters at Straumsvík and Grundartangi. Little attention has been paid by the conference to the negative impact and harmful effects to people’s health of aluminium smelting and related types of processing.

At this conference, which is partly funded by Icelandic tax payers’ money, the Technological Institute of Iceland, City of Reykjavík, the Ministry of Industry, Icelandair and the National Power Company, Landsvirkjun are among the sponsors and participants, Iceland is yet again being offered up for sale as a cheap country to smelt aluminium, while undesirable points of view are unwelcome.

We wish to convey the message to the conference guests that there is active opposition in this country to the further build-up of heavy industry, and point out the impact that this build-up will have on the local people and on the environment of those of us who live on Faxaflói bay.

Our protest is designed to express our opposition to the proposed expansion of the aluminium smelters at Straumsvík (ALCAN) and Grundartangi (Century), as well as the construction of an anode factory at Katanes (R&D Ltd.) and yet another Century smelter at Helguvik. We find it wholly unacceptable that the Faxaflói bay should become the most highly polluted area in Northern Europe, yet this is what will happen if these plans go ahead.

The additional sacrifices of Iceland’s most precious natural jewels, the Ramsar protected wetlands of Thjorsarver and one of Europe’s most beautiful lakes, Langisjor, to facilitate the expansions of the ALCAN and Century smelters are completely unacceptable.

Cost of resistance

We also wish to show our solidarity with the people who have suffered from ALCAN’s immoral and inhuman working practices around the world; from the workers at Straumsvík who have contacted us to describe their unacceptable working conditions and the abuse of employees’ rights, to the inhabitants of the Kashipur district of India who have been fighting for twelve years against a planned bauxite mine and ALCAN aluminium plant which will force at least 20,000 people to leave their farm lands and will pollute their water supply (see www.saanet.org), not forgetting the residents of Hafnarfjördur in Iceland who are demanding a local referendum on the expansion of the ALCAN plant.

We urge the press to better inform themselves about the environmental impact of the planned build-up of heavy industry around Faxaflói bay, and equally about the record and working practices of the foreign companies that the Icelandic government continues to eulogize and acclaim as the saviors of Iceland.”

(Needless to say, there are no signs of the Icelandic media picking up the challenge and doing their home work for a change. Icelandic media is under the tight control of the triple headed hydra; The State, the nouveau riche and the bitter old rich. Investigative journalism in the aluminium republic belongs to the past.)

Sep 20 2005

Images – 2005 Protest Camp at Kárahnjúkar, Skriðdalur and Reykjavík


suckscr
Alcoa graedir

Sep 17 2005

Archaeological Ruins Discovered at Kárahnjúkar – Landsvirkjun Orders: “Destroy anything within the Hálslón basin.”


Saving Iceland

Ruins of three houses from the 10th and 11th centuries have been discovered at the archaeological excavation site at Háls by Kárahnjúkar. Three houses are underneath a layer of ash from the Hekla eruption of 1104.

archeosite

A discovery that revolutionizes our
understanding of the Sagas
dig
dugover

Same site a few days later

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Sep 17 2005

Reindeer Revenge on Barclays


Barclaysbrella 

On Tuesday the 17/09/2005 the Students Union of the University of Sussex held their annual freshers fair, where new students are given freebies that no-one needs in exchange for custom. During this event, about 6 students dressed in reindeer-like costumes merrily surrounded the Barclaycard stall. Read More

Sep 15 2005

Alcoa Facing Growing Protests Over Proposed Trinidad Smelter


Trinidad

From NoSmelterTNT
5 September 2005

US Aluminum Giant Alcoa is facing massive criticism over a proposed 340,000 metric ton smelter plant in Cap De Ville in the Caribbean Island of Trinidad. The country of Trinidad is one of the most densely populated places on earth with 249 persons per sq. kilometer and also already ranks very high in pollution levels due to ongoing industrialization. According to world bank statistics, Trinidad is #5 in the world when it comes to Carbon Dioxide Pollution. Read More

Sep 05 2005

Direct Action Floods Iceland by T. Troughton


Corporate Watch
Newsletter 25

suckscr

Direct action against the Karahnjukar hydro-electric dam project in Iceland has started in earnest. The dam will devastate Western Europe’s last pristine wilderness, solely to power an Alcoa aluminium smelter (see Corporate Watch number 23, April May 2005, page 9)

In June, three activists invaded the 10th World Aluminium Conference, Reykjavik, covering speakers from Alcoa and Bechtel (who are building the smelter) in green yoghurt during their talk on ‘sustainable’ aluminium. All three were charged with causing up to £50,000 of damage. British activist Paul Gill was held for four days. With the construction of the dam now more than half complete, an international protest camp has been set up near to the site. Over 30 people have gathered to organise direct action against the continuing devastation of global ecology in the interest of corporate profits. The 19th July saw Iceland’s first ever lock on blockade, when 25 activists shut down the site for three hours, locking on to a Caterpillar construction vehicle and a pick up truck at the main junction in the site and blocking two other access roads. Fifteen were arrested and later released without charge. Impreglio, the Italian construction firm building the dam, threatened to take civil charges against the activists but has since backtracked. Experts concur that 90% of the irreversible environmental damage will be done only when the water floods the land, so its not too late to protect Iceland’s ecology, and with Smyril Line offering a round trip on the ferry for £49 from Shetland, what better place is there to spend the rest of your summer?

ANARCHY IN ICELAND

Iceland was under attack. Violent international protestors were arriving on its shores, fresh from the G8 and bent on futher destruction. The Icelandic police were calling for the urgent tightening of border controls. Laws had just been passed allowing foreigners to have their phones tapped, their houses searched, and their possessions confiscated, all without warrants. News presenters were emitting warning gouts of Icelandic, spattered with the word ‘Anarkisti!’, alongside blown-up images of figures in IRA balaclavas. There was muttered talk, on all sides, of terrorism. Read More

Sep 03 2005
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Surprise, surprise!


Banana

Saving Iceland
28 July 2007

In view of the police repression and slander campaign unleashed against Saving Iceland in the last few days by the Icelandic State and National Broadcaster RUV we feel it is important that this is compared with the following article from our campaign in 2005. This is particularly relevant in terms of the resurfacing threats of deportations.
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