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Mar 17 2006
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Iceland: Greenpeace’s Shameful Silence

Karahnjukar - Now submerged By Merrick

The Icelandic government is planning to destroy the largest remaining intact wilderness in Europe by building the Kárahnjúkar dam. It will be the largest dam of its kind in Europe, creating a reservoir of around 60 sq km. It’s not just that the submerged land will be obliterated, but the land beyond the dam will be deprived of water.

The area is land of huge ecological significance, designated an environmentally protected area, the oldest surviving areas of Iceland’s original vegetation. Around 380 square miles will be directly affected, with adjacent rivers, land and sea secondarily impacted.

To give you some context, it’s a reservoir roughly the size of Oxford with devastating direct impact on a surrounding delicate unspoilt ecosystem the size of Greater London. Read More

Mar 16 2006

Megaprojects and Risk – An Anatomy of Ambition

In this book Bent Flyvbjerg and others outline the exact blueprint of the methods employed by the Icelandic authorities to drive through their energy policies. Original edition is in Danish.

“Megaprojects and Risk provides the first detailed examination of the phenomenon of megaprojects. It is a fascinating account of how the promoters of multi-billion dollar megaprojects systematically and self-servingly misinform parliaments, the public and the media in order to get projects approved and built. It shows, in unusual depth, how the formula for approval is an unhealthy cocktail of underestimated costs, overestimated revenues, undervalued environmental impacts and overvalued economic development effects. This results in projects that are extremely risky, but where the risk is concealed from MPs, taxpayers and investors. The authors not only explore the problems but also suggest practical solutions drawing on theory, experience and hard, scientific evidence from the several hundred projects in twenty nations and five continents that illustrate the book. Accessibly written, it will be the standard reference for students, scholars, planners, economists, auditors, politicians and interested citizens for many years to come.” Read More

Mar 14 2006

‘Pure Iceland’ Exhibition Hit with Pure Truth!

On Tuesday 14th March 2006 in solidarity of the ‘Day of action against dams’, the ‘Pure Iceland’ exhibition at the Science Museum in London was the focus of activists highlighting the heavy industrialisation and destruction of Iceland’s natural resources. Saving Iceland stickers were plastered around the exhibition of “pure” lies, especially focussing on Landsvirkjun the Icelandic National Power Company’s sponsorship plaques at the exhibition. Information boards and leaflets were subverted with a few “pure” truths about the Icelandic government’s sell out to the international aluminium industry. A Saving Iceland poster also managed to find its way up onto the huge billboard sized map of Iceland in the centre of the exhibition, marking the place where the Behemoth and environmental catastrophe, Karahnjukar dams is being constructed. Saving Iceland leaflets were handed out and many people were interested in discussing the issues of Icelandic Government’s and corporations lies and corruption.

Many people shoved support for the action and some expressed interest in coming to this years’ summer camp.

Mar 13 2006

Saving Iceland European Tour

boldformation2

The Saving Iceland European popular education and workshop tour continues into Spain today. After an amazing welcome in Ireland at the Anarchist Bookfair in Dublin and then with such an inspiring and successful visit to the Shell to Sea campaign at Rossport in the North West of Ireland the tour hopes to continue in the same vein, discussing the issues around heavy industry, climate change and the industrialisation and corporate sell off of our environment. We have already seen many links between the Saving Iceland campaign and other campaigns so far and hope to report more on similar struggles and the links and friends we make along the way as the weeks unfold. Read More

Mar 13 2006

Economics Professor Doubts Icelandic Economy Can Handle new smelter

3 March 2006
Iceland Review

Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, RÚV, continues to report on public reaction to the announcement earlier this week of a memorandum of understanding between Alcoa and the Icelandic government concerning a feasibility study for a new aluminum smelter near Húsavík.

RÚV quotes professor of economics and director of the Economics Institute at the University of Iceland, Tryggvi Thór Herbertsson, saying that the Icelandic economy is unable to handle all the projects currently being planned.

In addition to Alcoa’s proposed new smelter, Alcan and Century Aluminum are also reported to be interested in adding capacity to their existing operations in Iceland.

Other proposed state-sponsored projects include a new hospital in Reykjavík and a new road from Reykjavík to Kjalarnes, the so-called Sundabraut.

According to RÚV, Tryggvi Thór said that “nobody thinks we can carry all of [the proposed projects] out at the same time…that would be far too much.”

Jón Bjarki Bentsson at Íslandsbanki’s research department said to RÚV that if the smelters are built other export industries would run into trouble. He also said that the Icelandic economy was flexible and had adjusted well in the past, both to downturns and upswings. If the projects were to move ahead, Icelanders could expect high interest rates and a high exchange rate, said Jón Bjarki.

Mar 10 2006

All Things Alcoa: Smelt Like Dishonesty

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Friday, March 10, 2006

Pittsburgh organizations dependent on philanthropic funding from Alcoa Inc. should remember that this is not your father’s aluminum company.

Alcoa, created in the Pittsburgh region in 1888, has been a fine corporate citizen. The Alcoa Foundation it created in 1952 had been very generous to local nonprofit organizations. The foundation contributed $4.1 million in Western Pennsylvania in 2001. But only $1.5 million last year. Read More

Mar 09 2006

Alcan Threatens Icelandic Government

halldor_asgrimsson-and-david-oddson Alcan has announced that it may well pull out of Iceland if it does not get the go-ahead to expand its factory at Straumsvík. The announcement was made after talks between Alcan and the PM Asgrimsson. Alcan would appear to have been pressuring the Icelandic Government into making available electricity to support the expansion program. This would entail the building of more dams and thus continuing the ongoing ecological destruction of the Icelandic wilderness.

This is a clear example of a large corporation attempting to exert economic dominance over a small democracy, a tactic echoed throughout the world where corporations gain ground to unduly influence goverments economic policy.

Saving Iceland rejoices at the idea of ALCAN leaving Iceland for good. They should also have the decency to leave India and the long suffering Adivasi people of Kashipur in peace. See www.kashipur.info

Celebrations have been announced in Reykjavik.

Mar 09 2006

‘Youth Against Heavy Industry’ Invade Offices of National Power Company

Protest in Landsvirkjun offices.jpg The Reykjavík offices of the much loathed Landsvirkjun, the Icelandic National Power Company, were gatecrashed by over thirty angry young people who banged drums, shouted and blew whistles in defiance against Landsvirkjun, heavy industry and ecocidal dams in the Icelandic highlands. Some held a banner with the by now famous subversion of the company name: ILLVIRKJUN (Evil energy.)

Although Landsvirkjun officials called the cops the cops restrained themselves and did not repeat last week’s much criticised violence against the youths. The Killers of Nature just had to bear the bad vibes.

A Landsvirkjun PR man complained there was no interest from the group of protesters to enter into dialogue with him. Seems like he and his bosses need a few more visits like this to get the point that by now it’s too late for any friendly “dialogue.” One of the youths stated they had had: “Enough of spins and propaganda based on greenwash, lies and manipulated information.”

It is unlikely that Landsvirkjun’s crimes against the Icelandic environment and against democracy will be forgiven by coming generations. “We demand an independent investigation into the affairs of Landsvirkjun and ultimately its utter annihilation as a company.” Read More

Mar 03 2006
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Thjórsárver Wetlands – Is ‘The Heart of Iceland’ Really Safe from the Nature Killers?

thjorsarver3

UPDATE
March 2007

Tjórsárver are certainly not safe yet. Since the below was written the Conservatives have taken over the majority in Reykjavík City Council. They hurriedly sold the council’s 45% share in Landsvirkjun to the State. Since that Landsvirkjun have announced that they want to go ahead with destroying Thjórsárver. However, they first want to make three dams in the lower part of the river of Thjórsá. This is also opposed by many people, including locals. Work on the three dams is due to start in the autumn of 2007. They are to provide energy for the enlarged ALCAN factory at Straumsvík in Hafnarfjörður. The people of Hafnarfjörður will vote in a referendum on this enlargement 31 March. It seems the inhabitants of Hafnarfjördur hold the fate of Thjórsá, Langisjór and Thjórsárver in their hands. If they vote in favour of ALCAN the rest of the Icelandic nation and the international community will have to step in.

Read More

Mar 01 2006

ALCOA Offices in Reykjavik Stormed by 30 Young People

Mótmælendur ryðja sér leið inn á Alcoa skrifstofur á Less than an hour after ALCOA’s New York announcement about a new smelter in north Iceland 30 young people stormed the ALCOA head office in Reykjavik. They staged a noise demo and demanded ALCOA should withdraw any plans for the Husavik smelter in the north of Iceland, that ALCOA immediately stopped building the smelter in Reydarfjordur, that ALCOA should get out of Iceland for good and that all further plans for any heavy industry in Iceland be abandoned.

The protesters got past security by making enquirees about ALCOA’s policy regarding jobs for disabled people. Once the protesters were in the offices the ALCOA staff called the police who got violent as they ejected the protesters. Apparently the ‘Viking’ squad turned up and two people were hurt. According to the National Broadcasting Service one protestors’ camera was seized (illegally) by the police.