Impact Of Kárahnjákar Was Known, Former Progressive Minister Of Environment Stands By The Project

Published March 14, 2013

Ásdís Hlökk Theodórsdóttir, a former employee of the Icelandic National Planning Agency, has said that she is not at all surprised what a significant negative impact the Kárahnjúkar dam and power plant has had on the ecosystem in and around Lagarfljót, one of Iceland’s largest lakes. Moreover, she’s surprised that others are surprised, RÚV reports.
“News of the significant impact of the power station comes as no surprise,” she said. “Significant affect on the Lagarfljót ecosystem was known to be the case at the time of construction and was included in the report made by the National Planning Agency.”
The National Planning Agency, the state authority responsible for the administration, monitoring and implementation of the Planning and Building Act, the Environmental Impact Assessment Act (EIA) and the Strategic Environmental Assessment Act (SEA); was not able to predict the precise degree of impact that the power plant would have on the surrounding ecosystem, however they were aware that it would be significant.
Regardless of the detrimental impact that sediment from the holding basin of the Kárahnjúkar power plant has had on the lake, Siv Friðleifsdóttir, former Minister of the Environment for the Progressive Party, has stated that the decision to build the massive damn and power plant was the right decision.
The National Planning Agency had been reserved about moving forward with the construction of the Kárahnjúkar dam project, which began in 2002, reporting that “Kárahnjúkar would result in significant environmental impacts and other consequences of the proposed development plans will have significant, irreversible, negative environmental impacts that are foreseeable.” It continued that the impact would be “specific to Hálslón and introduce sediment to Fljótsdalur and Lagarfljót. The first phase of construction will disturb species that are rare both locally and at a national level, and it will permanently change the condition of the ecosystem and the waters.”
However Siv pushed through the project’s approval.
“We looked at the report and realised the impact very clearly at the time,” said Siv. “We decided to allow the project to proceed on the basis of conditions that would mitigate the impact… We didn’t think the impact would be so great that it would overshadow the benefits of the project.”
The result of the construction of the Kárahnjúkar dam, Landsvrkjun-run power plant, and Alcoa-owned smelter has been the widespread deterioration of the Lagarfljót ecosystem and the loss of an estimated 80% of the trout population that had once flourished in the lake and its tributaries.
When asked by RÚV if news of the scale of the negative impact has changed her mind about pushing forward with the project being the right decision Siv replied “I believe this was the right decision.”
Related:
Deterioration of Lagarfljót Was Foreseen
Lagarfljót Ecosystem Continues To Deteriorate
Famous Lake Decaying
Investigation into Previous Environmental Ministry Demanded
Kárahnjúkar Impact Report To Be investigated



News
Whaler Considers Anti-Whaling Petition “A Joke”

Whaler Considers Anti-Whaling Petition “A Joke”

by

Iceland’s primary whaler accused reporters of “lapping up” what he calls misinformation about his hunting of fin whales, and dismissed

News
Ruling Coalition Struggling Against Pirate Party

Ruling Coalition Struggling Against Pirate Party

by

While the Pirate Party took a single-digit dip between polls, the ruling coalition is not gaining much ground. RÚV reports

News
Seal Escapes Zoo, Heads Straight For Campsite

Seal Escapes Zoo, Heads Straight For Campsite

by

A baby seal had itself a small adventure after escaping the zoo last night, replete with some biting involved. RÚV

News
First 50 Visitors To Dunkin’ Donuts Get Free Year Of Donuts

First 50 Visitors To Dunkin’ Donuts Get Free Year Of Donuts

by

Dunkin’ Donuts is making a generous promotional offer for its opening day, perhaps in an attempt to win over locals

News
Iceland Will Continue Trade Sanctions Against Russia

Iceland Will Continue Trade Sanctions Against Russia

by

Iceland will not be changing its policy regarding trade sanctions against Russia, but not without reservations from some members of

News
MP Wants To Review Iceland’s Porn Laws

MP Wants To Review Iceland’s Porn Laws

by

An incoming MP for the Pirate Party believes Iceland’s pornography laws need to be changed, if not dropped altogether. Vísir

Show Me More!