Archive for March, 2007

Mar 30 2007

Countdown to the Hafnarfjordur Referendum…


Iceland’s path as either a wild green masterpiece or a mid-Atlantic industrially polluted backwater is to reach a significant junction tomorow, Saturday the 31st of March. Residents of Hafnarfjordur, SW of Reykjavik, will vote on whether they want their Alcan (Canadian Aluminium) smelter expanded into by far the biggest aluminium smelter seen in Iceland to date.

The smelter, which lies in the vicinity of Hafnarfjordur, in Straumsvik, currently has a capacity of being able to produce 180,000 metric tonnes of aluminium per year (mtpy.) Alcan wishes to turn this into an unbelievably massive 460,000 mtpy smelter.

Iceland’s current largest smelter asside from this, being built in Reydarfjordur, can produce a gigantic 322,000 mtpy of aluminium and is to be powered by damming the Central-Eastern of Icelands: the infamous Karahnjukar project.

If the smelter in Hafnarfjordur is to be enlarged then we will be facing the destruction of Iceland’s Central Southern Highlands – Langisjor, Kerlingarfjoll, Thjorsarver, the nether region of Thjorsa not to mention the geothermal fields in Reykjanes and so much more.

To anyone who has the opportunity to vote in this referendum, please vote to keep Iceland a wild and green masterpiece.

Mar 23 2007

Ómar Ragnarsson Becomes Party Chairman


Grapevine
Steinunn Jakobsdóttir
At a press conference held today, the representatives of a new political party, Íslandshreyfingin (The Icelandic Movement) announced their candidature for the parliamentary elections in May.

At the moment, the party’s organisation counts seven individuals, including environmental crusader and former TV reporter Ómar Ragnarsson, who has been temporarily nominated as the chairman, former Liberal Party manager, Margrét Sverrisdóttir as vice-chairman, and Jakob Frímann Magnússon who seceded from the Social Democratic Alliance in February.

The Icelandic Movement will place the main emphasis on environmental issues. At the press conference today, Ómar Ragnarsson explained that the party will focus on keeping the environmen in the spotlight and fight against further heavy industry projects as well as emphasizing on innovation, general welfare, equality and increased democracy.

The party’s policy will be introduced in the next couple of days.

Mar 21 2007
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Environmentalists in Uproar as Iceland Pays the Price for ‘Green’ Energy Push


The Independent
21 March 2007
Richard Hollingham

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Mar 20 2007

Future Land Offers ‘Gray or Green’ Pact


Saving Iceland
20 March 2007

Campaign group Framtídarlandid (‘Future Land’) have pulled off a herculean stunt by finally managing to rally the Icelandic bourgeoisie to the defence of Icelandic nature.

Representatives of the group presented the pact ‘Gray or Green’ at a press conference last Sunday and asked Icelanders to sign it to put a stop to further heavy industry projects.

The pact, which can be read and signed on Future Land’s website, encourages the government to:

“Secure a varied and vibrant society in Iceland, where ingenuity and creativity of individuals is celebrated for the benefit of themselves and others.

To respect future generations by creating law to protect nature before further projects to harness energy for industry are undertaken.

To take responsibility in times of climate change by following international agreements on the reduction of CO2 emissions.”

The pact says Iceland should make decisions which coincide with its identity and image rather than become the biggest aluminium manufacturers in the world.

If the smelters in Straumsvík and Hvalfjördur are enlarged, new smelters in Helguvík and Húsavík constructed and aluminium production in Reydarfjördur is begun, energy comparable to three Kárahnjúkar power plants will be required, the pact states.

Finally all Icelandic MP’s are invited to make a clear statment in favour of environmental protection by commiting themselves to the pact.

Andri Snaer Magnason
and actress María Ellingsen presented the pact yesterday.

The press conference was also attended by Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, the former president of Iceland, who is the pact’s official patron.

Supporters of the ‘Gray or Green’ pact include such prominent luminaries as Bishop Sigurbjörn Einarsson, writer and vice-director of Time Warner Ólafur Jóhann Ólafsson, former Prime Minister Steingrímur Hermansson, professor in philosophy Vilhjálmur Árnason and film producer Sigurjón Sighvatsson.

Saving Iceland welcomes this initiative because, as they say; better late than never.

Mar 17 2007

Alcoa and Brazil’s latest dam project – They’re doing it again!


Brazilian environmental activists are charging that Brazilian environmental authorities and an Alcoa lead consortium planning construction of Barra Grande dam conspired to commit fraud in the awarding of an environmental license for the project. Members of Brazil’s Movement of Dam-Affected People (MAB) and environmentalists blockaded the access road to a stand of virgin forest slated for clearing before the filling of the reservoir. In all, 6,000 hectares of primary forests, including araucaria pines, in one of the richest remaining expanses of the threatened Atlantic Coast rainforest, would be flooded by the dam on the Pelotas river in Southern Brazil. A 2,000 hectare stand of virgin araucaria forests was somehow “omitted” in the project’s environmental studies. Local groups have filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to annul the license awarded to Barra Grande, to require the consortium to carry out new studies evaluating the possibility of operating the reservoir at a lower level to avoid drowning the araucaria forests, and if this is deemed impossible, to order the demolition of the dam structure. Heavily-armed riot police have reportedly been sent to the area to disperse protestors. The consortium building Barra Grande includes the Pittsburgh-based Alcoa aluminum company (which contains Kathy Fuller, President of WWF-USA as a Board Member), MAB leader Soli da Silva says the mobilization will continue indefinitely. “We cannot permit that fraud and a ‘done deal’ become the rule on environmental licensing for hydroelectric projects in our country.” Please support these brave environmentalists at http://forests.org/action/brazil/ .
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Mar 17 2007

Alcoa plans to build three dams in Brazilian Amazon


Alcoa, the world’s largest aluminum company, has announced plans to construct at least three large dams in the Brazilian Amazon. The dams will flood indigenous lands as well as protected ecological reserves and other critical wetlands in the rainforest. Tens of thousands of families will lose their homes and livelihood, including family farmers, fisherfolk, palm nut gatherers, and ceramic makers.

Yet, no studies of the cumulative impacts of these and 13 other proposed large dams have been carried out. Indications are that these dams will destroy thousands of square kilometers of natural ecosystems along the river systems, and further spread poverty throughout the eastern Amazon.

Tell Alcoa to scrap plans for Amazon dams! Send a FREE FAX to Alcoa CEO Alain Belda, http://www.corpwatch.org/action/PAA.jsp?…

or first read more about the issue on the International Rivers Network website:
 http://www.irn.org/programs/latamerica/i…

Mar 17 2007

Surinam to get aluminum-smelter and nuclear reactor


Paramaribo – In the second half of this year the first start is made for the build of an aluminium factory in Groot-Chatillon, across Paranam, as they start the ground displacement.

by Ivan Cairo 16-03-2007

The financing of the multi-million dollar project is all arranged, but Surinams membership of the International Atom Energy Agency (IAEA) of the United Nations is required. “I am doing the consultation round inside Surinam, on a national level, to get advice in order to see whether Surinam is ready to become a member. I do not want to take that decision alone”, answerred minister Lygia Kraag-Keteldijk (Buza) to the question whether the IAEA-membership is already applied for. With the consultation several ministeries and the corporate live is involved and will be reflected if talks with other factors are necessary. The member of government claims that if necessary will be researched what conditions a country has to meet in order to become a member of the IAEA.

The build of the integrated project that will be executed by Surinam Industrial Engineering will take about three years, says manager Misram Chanderbosch. In the 40 megawatt nuclear plant 30 million US-dollars will be invested. In other industries that are also started there, a total of 2 to 3 billion US-dollars will be invested. The undertaker clearly states that investors from the Netherlands, Great-Brittain and Germany are ready. The nuclear fuel for the energy plant will be delivered by companies in South-Africa, Italy, Japan, China and France.

The waist of the plant will be taken back by the suppliers every three years so that possible problems for the environment are excluded.

“The energy will exclusively be used for the industry”, says Chanderbosch, “and not for normal households.” He adds that in Groot-Chatillon a rolling-mill and a flatting-mill will be build. The aluminium plant will mainly produce aluminium blocks (ingots), foil paper and high-tension cables. The smelting-works will be made up out of several production units with a capacity of 250.000 tons each a year. Between 1000 and 1500 labour places will be created. With BHP-Billiton and Suralco deals have been made about supplying the alum soil. The Brokopondo-agreement settles that. The same amount of alum soil will be imported from abroad for the processing, should local bauxite companies not be able to supply.

Mar 16 2007

Make over for Mott MacDonald in Cambridge


Mottmac

16 March 2007

Mott MacDonald, designers of Kárahnjúkar dams and now bidders for the three dams proposed for the ALCAN smelter expansion in the nether Thjórsá river, received a late night make over to the doors of their international offices in Cambridge, UK.

Mar 16 2007
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Week of Iceland Actions in the Low Countries


Belgiumembassy

18 March 2006

Last week saw a number of actions in solidarity with the Icelandic movement in Belgium and the Netherlands. Friday morning, Saving Iceland and the Dutch/Belgian environmentalist network GroenFront! built a dam blockading the entrance of the Icelandic Embassy in Brussels (photo-report). Earlier in the week, a picketline was held at the Icelandic Consulate in Rotterdam and the folk singer Armand, the “Dutch Bob Dylan”, performed songs of praise to Icelandic nature. Finally, EarthFirst! closed down both ALCOA’s Dutch head office in Drunen and an ALCOA factory in Kerkrade, the Netherlands in opposition to heavy industry. The actions express growing international concern about the plans for expansion of the aluminium industry and megahydro in Iceland and other countries such as Trinidad and Brazil. Read More

Mar 16 2007

EARTH FIRST! SHUT DOWN ALUMINIUM GIANT ALCOA IN THE NETHERLANDS


alcoaskafl

16 March 2007

Last night “Earth First!” closed Alcoa’s headquarters in Drunen, the Netherlands. Alcoa’s largest Dutch factory in Kerkrade was also shut. Entrance gates were locked with chains. The gates’ locks themselves were sabotaged with a liquid.

Alcoa is constructing new aluminum smelters in Iceland. Alcoa also plans to build new smelters in Trinidad and in the Amazon. There is fierce local and international opposition to these plans. Effects on nature and climate are devastating. Various planned smelters would be powered by constructing new megadams that would flood large areas of unique wilderness.

With this action, we are declaring our solidarity with the Saving Iceland campaign. Saving Iceland has called out for an international week of action against heavy industry. This action has been done in response to that call.

Earth First! in Belgium and the Netherlands is also called Groen Front!.
Earth First! is not an organisation but an international banner for direct action.

NO COMPROMISE IN DEFENCE OF MOTHER EARTH!

Websites that contain information relevant to these issues:
 http://www.earthfirst.org.uk
 http://www.groenfront.nl
 http://www.savingiceland.org