Jul 19 2010
This post is also available in: Icelandic
Petition for a Referendum on Energy Resources
A petition has been launched, aimed at getting the authorities to thwart the sale of HS Orka (eothermal energy company) to Magma. To sign the petition you have to have an Icelandic I.D. number, and sign that along with your name on the website Orkuaudlindir.is
Following is the announcement from the group behind the petition along with the demands:
Within few days, the final deals concerning Magma Energy Sweden AB’s purchase of HS Orka will get signed. That will give Magma the full private right of utilization over these important and valuable resources for the next 65 years, with a possibility for a further 65 year extension! The company is buying these rights into our resources very cheaply compared to other countries, for an unusually long time compared to other countries and on terms which seem to benefit the buyer in all aspects. Some arguments have been made, stating that we can’t afford not to sell wheras the country needs foreign investors into the country to create employment. But the fact of the matter is that Magma is actually getting the main part of the loans for the purchase in Iceland – on terms which for some reason are not on offer to other companies.
According to reliable economic forecasts, pure green energy is getting more sought, and therefore more valuable, with every passing day in a world threatened by a looming energy resource shortage. If they treat their energy resources responsibly, the people of Iceland should be able to benefit hugely from them.
The sale of HS Orka is a trial of the resource- and energy policies of the coming years.
The times are hard and we cannot afford to purchase HS Orka ourselves, we say. But can we really afford not to?
If the public were given jurisdiction in this matter of high interest to participate in forming a long-sighted and just resource- and energy policie with a referendum – following an honest and transparent debate, the energy could remain as our most solid property – and source of income, including the energy on the Southern Peninsula that’s being given away. A democratic policy making like that could become an important example for the rest of the world.
Because of multiple misunderstandings and administrative screw-ups the deal on Magmas purchase could now manage to pass through without us having had the time to value it with proper resources on the whole of the matter and it’s possible consequences. We’re facing decisions that aren’t going to be made by appointed councils or elected politicians. There is full reason to call for the authorities to look into the matter on counts of the 12th article of laws concerning foreign investment in business activity on Iceland, which states; “If the minister of trade suspects that a certain foreign investment can cause threat to the national security or goes against the general rule, public safety or public health and in the cases of serious economical, national or environmentaldifficulties in specific industries or areas, that seem to be ongoing, he can and may stop that investment…” If the deal truly is as unfavourable as it seems, then there’s more reasons for the government to breach it surfacing every day.
It’s neccessary to point out here that the decisions which led to this case were taken by elected and public officials who got heavily criticised in the parlament’s SIC-report (a report of a special committee investigating the causes of the economical collapse). It’s important that we learn from past mistakes, and that’s why we want to encourage the inhabitants of Iceland to put pressure on the government by declaring their wishes about the future rule for ownership of energy resources.
The signatures of the nation on this petition is a demand of popular will the authorities must listen to.
Björk Guðmundsdóttir, Jón Þórisson, Oddný Eir Ævarsdóttir
The declaration on the petition states:
I demand that the authorities stop the sale of HS Orka, and for the parlament to put out a referendum on the ownership of energy resources in the country and their utilization.