Archive for August, 2008

Aug 30 2008

Letter about Crazy Horse to Saving Iceland


From Reverend Billy

A year ago we were with you in Iceland, the land of fire and ice and spirits and charms! This year we get news and images on the computers. Congratulations on the Century Aluminum Smelter blockade. You slowed down the output from that day, July 21, 2008. You’re saving lives! Every hour that an F-16 is not yet in the air…

Wandering your website, I remember my sermon last year. I tried to conjure the memory of Crazy Horse and bring his spirit to your struggle for Iceland. Savitri remembers the recurring phrase, “The land is innocent and powerful.” I don’t remember much of the specifics of my talk that afternoon, which was itself an on-the-spot remembering. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the river valley in our windows and simultaneously my boyhood love of the stories of Crazy Horse, from when my family lived in the Dakotas.

And so if you will read this letter, and help us bring back that day in the hotel conference room in Olfus… Writing is an act of memory and by writing this letter to you today — maybe some of your year-ago campaign, and our sermon within it, will resurface in these pages. Read More

Aug 22 2008

Bakki Impact Assessment Should Include Dams


Jaap Krater, Morgunbladid – Thórunn Sveinbjarnardóttir’s has said the environmental impact of Alcoa’s planned Bakki smelter and the associated energy production needs to be considered jointly (1). This poses the question whether or not new dams will be needed for heavy industry in the north. Looking at what can be realistically realised from geothermal plants, it becomes clear that a number of hydro projects will inevitably be necessary to power the Bakki smelter, and they should be taken into the assessment. In this article Jaap Krater analyses the energy calculations for the smelter and potential power plants. Read More

Aug 22 2008
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Deaths at Reykjavik Energy Due to Harsh Circumstances of Low-Paid Foreign Workers


Two days ago two Romanian workers suffocated while wielding pipes for the geothermal expansion project at Hellisheidi, east of Reykjavik (1). The Hellisheidi power plant is being expanded by Reykjavik Energy company. The campaign group Saving Iceland believes that serious accidents are almost unavoidable due to the extreme circumstances the Eastern European workers in Iceland are forced to work in.
At the construction site for the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant expansion, the labour intensive work is done by Polish and Rumanian workers. These live in a work camp on the construction site. The Rumanian pipe wielders of which two died are working for Altak, a contractor of Reykjavik Energy. Read More

Aug 20 2008

Pressure on Vedanta Increases


Survival International – British mining company Vedanta is under intense pressure over its plans to mine the Dongria Kondh tribe’s land in India, as a Scottish investment group sells its shares and Amnesty International joins the campaign in support of the tribe. Read More

Aug 18 2008

Landsvirkjun Continues Búðarháls Dam


Landsvirkjun, Iceland’s national power company, has announced it wants to restart construction on Búðarhálsvirjun which will dam Tungnaá and Köldukvísi rivers in South Iceland, this year. The company has just sent out tenders for machinery and electrical equipment while a tender for construction work would go out this autumn. Work on the dam and reservoir would start first, while the company waits for the legal processes for the three Þjórsá dams to be finished before it open tenders for the planned power plants of the Þjórsá and Búðarháls dams.
Landvirkjun says it is under pressure from a contract with Rio Tinto Alcan, to supply electricity for the Straumsvik smelter, expanding it’s production from 183.000 to ~ 223.000 metric tons per year, which requires an extra 75 MW of power (1). Búðarhálsvirkjun, would produce 80 MW, somewhat less than the original estimate of 100 MW (2). The remainder is to go to the Verne Holding data centre in Keflavik. The dam, projected to be 2400 m long and 24m high and would create the 8 km2 Sporðöldulón reservoir next to Hrauneyafoss. The cost is expected to be around 23.2 billion krona (192 million euro) (3). Read More

Aug 18 2008
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Grand Canyon Dam Bursts


Supai damUS rescue crews have airlifted some 170 people to safety from a remote village in the Grand Canyon after a dam burst following days of heavy rain.
Grand Canyon National Park spokeswoman Maureen Oltrogge said water from the Redlands Dam had caused flooding in a side canyon containing Supai village. The area, accessible only by foot, on horseback or by air, is home to 400 members of the Havasupai tribe. Most people have been accounted for but searches will resume later on Monday. Read More

Aug 16 2008
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Grand Inga: Leaving Africans in the Dark?


International Rivers Report – The potential to profit from the world’s largest dam project – the Grand Inga hydropower scheme, proposed for the Congo River – drew bankers, engineering firms and industrial interests to London in April 2008 to discuss financing for the $80 billion project. African civil society has been raising concerns about the project for some time, but was blocked from attending the London event. The meeting made clear that both the proposed Inga 3 and Grand Inga schemes would be developed primarily for major industries such as aluminum and mining interests. Project promoters would like the dams to be developed privately in order to minimize the government’s role and better control the project’s financing and operations. Read More

Aug 11 2008

Injured Century and Elkem Workers Forced Back to Work


According to the workers union of Akranes it is standard procedure that Century Aluminum – Norðurál and Elkem-Icelandic Alloys at Hvalfjordur push injured workers to come back to work as soon as possible. They do it quite roughly, even though the workers have medical papers proving that they are not able to work at all, MBL.is reports. Read More

Aug 11 2008

Blowing up Mountains, Taking Drugs and Pink Toilets


Jaap Krater, Iceland Review – As someone who has been active with Saving Iceland for a number of years, I read James Weston’s column about media coverage on our campaign with much amusement. Many of his comments are not only funny but also have a ring of truth.
For me, they also illustrate something that is quite sad. People watch TV and see others chaining themselves to machines, according to polls most might even agree with them that they do not want more dams or smelters, and they get bored. Read More

Aug 10 2008
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The Camp is Over – The Fight Goes on


Saving Iceland’s fourth action camp is now over but the fight goes on. This year we stayed on Hellisheiði for three weeks, where Reykjavík Energy is expanding their geothermal power plant, first of all to supply energy to aluminium smelters. We enjoyed the summer in this amazing environment which is now in danger because of the construction. This summer we put a special focus on the global impact of aluminium production, how it is does not only effect Iceland, but the whole world; it’s environment, humans and other species. Read More