Archive for February, 2010

Feb 22 2010

Mining and Refinery Projects Devastate Communities in India


From Amnesty International, February 2010

Plans to mine bauxite in the Niyamgiri Hills in the Indian state of Orissa threaten the very existence of the Dongria Kondh – an indigenous community that has lived on and around the hills for centuries.

The Dongria Kondh depend entirely on the hills for their food, water, livelihoods and cultural identity. They consider the Niyamgiri Hills as sacred.

The proposed mine could have grave repercussions for their human rights to water, food, health, work and other rights as an Indigenous community in respect of their traditional lands. International law requires that governments seek their free, prior informed consent before beginning such projects.

In Lanjigarh, at the foot of the Niyamgiri Hills, air and water pollution from an alumina refinery run by Vedanta Aluminium are threatening the health and well-being of local communities.

Read More

Feb 08 2010

Plan to Dam Þjórsá River Declined


Svandís Svavarsdóttir, Minister of Environment, recently declined land-use plans made by the parishes of Flóahreppur and Skeiða- and Gnúpverjahreppur at the request of Landsvirkjun (National Energy Company), which had also paid for the preperations to the changes in the plans. The minister declined the land-use plans on the grounds that according to Icelandic law, such plan changes are to be paid for by the communities themselves, and any third-party involvement in the costs is illegal.

Of course the governmental opposition parties and their usual gang of industrial lobbyists are furious over the ruling, and critisice it heavily, displaying reactions the environmental minister described as being similar to allergic reactions. Amongst other things they accuse her of hindering those who are trying to build up work in the energy and industry sectors and blocking the creation of new jobs in a country they claim is ravaged by unemployment (approximately 8,6% at last count).

Read More