Archive for May, 2007

May 24 2007

Saving Iceland at the 2007 G8 Counter Summit


Saving Iceland at the 2007 G8 Counter Summit

SHUT THEM DOWN!

Saving Iceland will be presenting workshops at the G8 Counter Summit in Northern Germany. We will be discussing and introducing our campaign, the 2007 camp and conference, international actions and the potential for a global movement against heavy industry. Read More

May 24 2007
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May 22 2007
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Rising Ecocide: Nests Swallowed by Water at Kárahnjúkar


nest

The surface of Hálslón, the reservoir by Kárahnjúkar dams in Iceland’s eastern highlands, is constantly rising, swallowing nests and eggs laid by geese. The area is the nesting ground for greylag geese amongst numerous other species of rare and endangered birds. At least 500 greylag nests are thought to be at risk.

According to newspaper Morgunbladid, the birds have not yet realized the changes of their summer habitat, which happened when the glacial river Jökulsá á Dal was blocked last autumn to create Kárahnjúkar dam and Hálslón reservoir. This is to provide energy for an ALCOA owned aluminium smelter in nearby fjord, Reydarfjördur.

A protected area, Kringilsárrani, is also being partly drowned and devastated in full by the project. It is the calving ground of a third of Iceland’s reindeer population, which will be displaced.

The Kárahnjúkar area is the most densely vegetated area north of Vatnajökull, the world’s largest non-arctic glacier. Sixty major waterfalls are being destroyed and innumerable unique geological formations drowned, along with the just recently discovered ancient ruins of Reykjasel, about the most important archaeological find in Icelandic history.

The Kárhnjúkar project entails blocking the silt emissions of two massive glacial rivers, Jökulsá á Dal and Jökulsá í Fljótsdal. This will result in the receding of the combined delta of the two rivers. This will destroy a unique nature habitat in the delta and cause the loss of one of Iceland’s major seal colonies.

seal3

The Kárahnjúkar dams are situated on a cluster of active geological fissures. The government withheld geological reports from parliament when voting on the dams took place.

Campos Novos, a dam in Brazil of similar design, cracked in June 2006. Yet, Campos Novos was built on stable ground. Leading Icelandic geologists to consider the Kárahnjúkar dams a major threat to the local population.

The project was opposed by the Icelandic National Planning Agency due to too much irreversible environmental impact and insufficient evidence for the economic benefits of the project. The verdict of the NPA was overruled by the Minister of the Environment, Siv Fridleifsdóttir.

It is typical for the dishonest methods of the National Power Company (Landsvirkjun) that they pretend that the EIA they present on their Kárahnjúkar website is anything other than their own slanted PR job. You can read the real thing here: ‘Conclusion of the Environmental Impact Assessment of the Kárahnjúkar Project’
The Icelandic National Planning Agency

It is expected that the inundation will be complete in the autumn of 2007. The water levels of the reservoir will fluctuate and the dry dusty silt banks will cause dust storms that will affect the vegetation of over 3000 sq km. It has been estimated that the reservoir will silt up in as little as 40-80 years, leaving a desert where there was one of the most biologically diverse regions of the Icelandic highlands.

So much for the claims of Landsvirkjun and ALCOA that this provides “renewable” and “sustainable” energy!

submerged vegetation

ALCOA are adding insult to injury by demanding another smelter in the north of Iceland. This would entail the destruction of numerous geothermal fields and several major glacial rivers in the north.

ALCOA may think that they will get away with this vandalising of the Icelandic environment and that they can force their presence upon Iceland, against the will of half the nation. They are wrong.

ALCOA are not likely to be forgiven for Kárahnjúkar. Through this project ALCOA have gained many new enemies, both Icelandic and international. In due time these are sure to make ALCOA pay a heavy price for this ecocide.

Beautiful slideshow of the Jokulsa a Bru in all its living wonder, Kárahnjúkar and Töfrafoss in August 2006, just before the inundation. Photos by Christopher Lund. Music by Damien Rice.

For the ecological impact of hydropower reservoirs and glacial rivers see the following articles:

‘Hydropower Disaster for Global Warming’ by Jaap Krater

‘Glacial Rivers Reduce Pollution on Earth’ by Gudmundur Páll Ólafsson

Hydroelectric Power’s Dirty Secret Revealed

For other articles about the environmental impact of the Kárahnjúkar dams see ‘Destroyed Areas’

Campos Novos CU

Campos Novos

May 19 2007

Victory over ALCOA in Brazil!


During a meeting today with the Pará State Secretary of the Environment, Valmir Gabriel Ortega, the State and Federal Public Prosecutors Offices requested cancellation of the environmental license granted to Alcoa to mine bauxite in the municipality of Juruti. In an exclusive interview with the Amazonia website, the coordinator of the State Public Prosecutors Office (MPE) Environmental Center, Prosecutor Raimundo Moraes, explained that the decision to request suspension aims at averting a violent reaction by the local population, which wants the company to leave at any cost, and also to conduct a rigorous review of the license.

Although mining operations are only scheduled to begin in 2008, during public hearings held on May 2nd and 3rd, the community claims that it is already suffering impacts from construction of lodgings for employees of the multinational, a port and a road.

Moraes said, “the impacts are so obvious that Alcoa has not denied any of them. Alcoa said it was correcting the problems and recognized that it does not enjoy good relations with the community”. Moraes, however, stated that the problems run deep and will not be set straight with just repairs.Impacts One of the main complaints raised at the hearings is contamination of the waters in rivers that flow through the town.

Technical studies detected the presence of feces coliforms in Jará Lake, which supplies water to the municipality, and data from the municipal health department show that cases of viral hepatitis, caused by ingesting water contaminated by human feces, jumped from 26 in 2006 to 121 in the first four months of this year. The community accuses Alcoa of not performing proper treatment on sewage from the lodging of its employees. Moreover, Incra representatives present at the meetings presented pictures and other documents that prove that the company is conducting deforestation in areas not authorized inside the Juruti Velho and Socó Agro-extractivist Settlement Projects.

Another complaint is the increased expenses of public agencies, which are faced with increased demands for health, education and infrastructure. “If, after the review is conducted, Alcoa can act correctly, alright, otherwise it would be best for them to leave, as we do not need to bear these costs. It is unfair that they keep the riches produced here and we keep the burdens”, says Moraes.

The prosecutor believes that the population has shown its lack of trust in the company and accuses the multinational of trying to upset the hearings. “They tried to co-opt leaders, offering 10 jobs to each community”.

License

The preliminary license for installation of the Alcoa plant was granted by the State Environmental Council (Coema) in 2005. At the time, the representative of the State Public Prosecutors Office (MPE) voted against the authorization. Soon afterward, the agency, together with the Federal Public Prosecutors Office (MPF), filed a class action suit petitioning for the suspension of the company’s activities in the region.

The hearings this week were attended by the coordinator of the MPE Environmental Center, Prosecutor Raimundo Moraes and Federal Attorney Daniel César Azeredo Avelino, who commands the (Federal Public Prosecutors Office (MPF) in Santarém. Members from both agencies also visited the affected locations.

By Renata Gaspar
Link: http://www.amazonia.org.br

May 10 2007

Routine Corruption Delayed Until After Elections!


BB

Bjorn Bjarnason

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May 09 2007
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Alcoa to swallow Alcan?


king?

Alain Belda CEO of Alcoa
President of Iceland in waiting?

Update: ALCAN prefered murderous Rio Tinto. So now its ALCAN – Rio Tinto. Nice addition to the corporate criminals that the Icelandic government like to wag their tails to. This indicates the true nature of Icelandic politics.

7 May 2007

Alcoa have announced plans to take over Canadian aluminium company Alcan, both companies own infamous smelters in Iceland: Alcoa in Reydarfjördur, Eastfjords, and Alcan in Hafnarfjördur, near Reykjavík.

An informal takeover offer amounts to nearly USD 33 billion (EUR 24 billion).

Bank of America recently upgraded its estimation of Alcan’s shares from USD 62 (EUR 46) to USD 82 (EUR 61) per share. Financial experts believe other aluminium companies may want to invest in Alcan as well.

Alcoa and Alcan have discussed cooperation for nearly two years, which has not been successful, thus Alcoa is planning a takeover.

According to information from Alcan in Iceland, the news about the takeover came as a surprise.

There have been persistent rumours that Rio Tinto is planning a hostile takeover of Alcoa.

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May 02 2007

Environment Minister Bjartmarz Embroiled in Corruption Scandal


Bjartmarz

UPDATE: Voters booted Bjartmarz out of Icelandic politics in the general elections 12 May. But her track record is ugly and Icelandic nature will be smarting for a long time after her dark reign as Minister of the Environment. One of her final crimes against nature was to OK, against all scientific advise, a disastrous road scheme by lake Thingvallavatn in the Thingvellir National Park. This area is on the UNESCO World Heritage list for it’s unique nature. The plan is to build a motorway through the Gjábakka area, much too close to the lake. This road must be resisted and stopped. Read More