Archive for September, 2006

Sep 28 2006

The Closing of the Gates…


With tears in my eyes i write these words I never believed I would. The flooding of Kárahnjúkar has now begun.

The Icelandic media has reported that within the first few hours of the closing of the dam doors on the morning of 28 September 2006, like a noose being tightened, the water level rose 15 meters. The entire 200m+ flooding depth will not be completed until next summer. Some people turned up to watch the valley be drowned, notably reporter Ómar Ragnarsson who will board a boat on the rising reservoir and film the death of the many waterfalls, valleys, cliffs, and so forth.

Despite two summers of an international protest camp in the Icelandic Highlands which was attended by hundreds of people from all over the world; despite a 15,000 people marching in Reykjavik the day before today, together with 200 from Akureyri, 50 in Ísafjörður, 100 in Egilsstaðir, a turnout which is over five times the size of the previous largest demonstration in the 300,000 person Iceland; despite a disastrous environmental assessment report; despite calls from scientists and nature lovers inside outside and out; despite all the consequences on Iceland’s economy; despite this area now to be known as the Halslon reservoir being of huge cultural significance to Iceland; despite it being the second largest wilderness in Europe: heavy industry has got its way and stolen this wilderness merely for the sake of the production of aluminium.

The fight to save Kárahnjúkar may now be over, but the fight to defend Iceland from further assaults by the pro-heavy-industry patriarchs is just beginning. Alcoa, Landsvirkjun, the Icelandic government and any other corporation profiting from this murder will pay for the death of this great wilderness.

Sep 27 2006

15,000 People March to Save Kárahnjúkar


27/9/2006

A historical amount of Icelanders today marched in four different cities against the damming of Kárahnjúkar. Following a call from retiring television reporter and nature enthusiast Ómar Ragnarsson to march on the day before the dam is scheduled to be flooded, up to 15,000 people in total walked the streets in the Reykjavik, Akureyri, Egilsstaðir and Ísafjörður. “

fimmtanthusund 

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Sep 22 2006

The Kárahnjúkar Elegy by Hanna Björk


Christopher Lund

By Hanna Björk

Saying that the Kárahnjúkar dam has been controversial is an understatement. This hydro-power project, planned by Iceland’s government to dam glacial river flows and produce hydroelectric power for Alcoa’s aluminum smelter in Reyðarfjörður, east Iceland caused a debate that started a few years back. It has only been escalating. Read More

Sep 22 2006

Ómar Ragnarsson Declares Formal Opposition to Kárahnjúkardams and Exposes Repressive Efforts of Authorities


One of Iceland’s best-known television and entertainment personalities, Ómar Ragnarsson, called a press conference yesterday to formally announce his opposition to the Kárahnjúkavirkjun dam project in east Iceland.

He also announced that he will be publishing an eight-page supplement to be distributed with Morgunbladid on Sunday, addressing with the dam project and environmental issues in general. This is reported in all the main media. Read More

Sep 21 2006

Brief News from Kárahnjúkar


Impregilo have practically finished the construction of the central and biggest of the main Kárahnjúkar dams, and is set to begin the first of the dams three inundations “in the last week of September”.

If this is to happen, words cannot describe the devastation of anyone who has ever walked around those prehistoric cliffs, beside that grey and angry river Jökulsá á Brú, into the tumbling land of Kringilsárrani with its countless reindeer, upon the cliffs of its magic waterfall, along the great canyon Hafrahvammagljufur, onto the wild untouched bleak glacier from where the river emerges, through the freedom and towards the dreams that only such a wild land can provoke. Read More

Sep 19 2006

Icelandic Authorities Refused Investigation of Pollution on U.S. Armybase


Icelandic authorities refused to conduct an independent investigation into pollution at the US military base near Keflavík airport before negotiations with the US on the future of the defense agreement began this spring. Snorri Páll Snorrason, former health advisor with the Sudurnes Health Authority and a current employee of Almenna Consulting Engineers, which made an offer to Icelandic authorities to investigate the old garbage dump at the base, says that it is crucial to investigate ground pollution in specific areas, most notably the old dump. This is reported by Fréttabladid. Read More

Sep 08 2006

Left-Greens Voice Grave Concerns Over Police Actions


The governing committee of the Left-Green party in Iceland has sent forth a resolution in which it voices grave concerns about the alleged harsh actions by police against protestors of the Kárahnjúkavirkjun dam project, travellers and nature lovers passing through the Kárahnjúkar area. The resolution reads: “The governing committee of the Left-Green party would like to reiterate that freedom of expression and opinion are among the cornerstones of a just and democratic society. This includes the right to voice one’s opinion and to protest, if done in a peaceful and appropriate manner.

“The governing committee of the Left-Green party demands an immediate investigation into the conduct and alleged harshness of police that have included the unecessary and even illegal blocking of people’s movement through the highlands. An investigation must also be conducted into the enduring rumor that police has undertaken extensive unwarranted and unauthorized collection of personal data, filmed individuals, and taken other actions that violate the sanctity of personal freedom and movement. The description that have appeared in the media by people on site of harsh treatment by police fully warrant an immediate and objective investigation. … Should it transpire that police have gone too far, or are guilty of illegal activities, actions must immediately be taken so that this does not happen again, and those responsible must be judged in a court of law.” Read More

Sep 04 2006

Loss Due to Kárahnjúkavirkjun Dam ISK 20-30 Billion?


The Iceland Nature Conservation Association claims that the National Power Company will incur a loss of between ISK 20-30 billion through its investment in the Kárahnjúkavirkjun dam project in east Iceland. The calculations are based on figures released by the National Power Company in a reviewed profitability assessment for the dam. Morgunbladid online reports.

In a press release, the Iceland Nature Conservation Association states that it has often “criticized the negative rate of return of the Kárahnjúkavirkjun dam and in particular how low the requirements by the National Power Company (the owners) are for its investment to return a profit”.

The Iceland Nature Conservation Association bases its calculations on the Weighted Average Cost of Capital being 8-9 percent, as is considered “normal and natural based on market criteria.” Read More

Sep 01 2006

Sverrisdóttir Refused to Meet Opposition Leader on Kastljós Program


Former Minister of Commerce and Industry Valgerdur Sverrisdóttir refused to meet Left-Green Party leader Steingrímur J. Sigfússon on the Kastljós news program on Wednesday evening, to discuss why she had failed to disclose details of a report concerning the Kárahnjúkavirkjun dam project to parliament. This was revealed in a letter by the director of the Icelandic National Broadcasting Corporation (RÚV), which broadcasts the program. Previously Sigfússon had publicly criticized the fact. Read More