A Grapevine service announcement Pay attention: Eruption Pollution Likely To Hit Whole Country

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
<?php the_title(); ?>

Bárðarbunga Eruption More Likely

by

The likelihood of an eruption in the Bárðarbunga caldera is increasing, says volcanologist Ármann Höskuldsson. “It is becoming more likely that there will be an eruption under the glacier at Bárðarbunga,” Ármann told Vísir. “The eruption in Holuhraun can’t handle much more and this shit has to come out somewhere.” Ármann reiterates however, that technically Holuhraun counts as Bárðarbunga as it is located within the Bárðarbunga area. If an eruption took place in the caldera under the ice it would have serious repercussions. “There would be a flood, likely up north and a considerable ash cloud,” said Ármann. “It could

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Whale Watching Numbers Rise

by

The number of people going whale watching is growing rapidly, reports RÚV. An estimated 10.000 people will go whale watching this year with Arctic Sea Tours in Dalvík for example, a significant increase on last year when 6.400 people went. “We see whales about 98% of the time, and humpbacks about 94% of the time. The humpback whale is people’s favourite and is quite curious and playful in nature,” said Arctic Sea Tours owner,Freyr Antonsson. “[When we started offering year-round tours], we came up against the weather a bit over the winter but I can’t be anything other than pleased

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

More Labour Unions Criticise Prime Minister

by

Another labour union group has criticised the proposed 2015 budget, while Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson doubts unions will make good on their threat to walk out over it. In a new statement from the Húsavík Labour Union Office (Framsýn) entitled “The heart of the government doesn’t beat with working people”, the labour union group harshly criticises the proposed 2015 budget. “It is obvious that the government has no interest in working with the labour movement in creating a society based on equality,” the statement reads in part. “The labour movement is duty bound and will respond very clearly in

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Interior Minister Assistant On Trial

by

One of the Minister of the Interior’s assistants is currently on trial for his part in the leak of a memo about asylum seeker Tony Omos. Gísli Freyr Valdórsson, a former assistant to Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, was charged with breach of confidentiality and relieved of his position last August. He is now on trial in Reykjavík District Court, and the matter is already proving contentious. Vísir points out that even while no longer employed at the Ministry and currently standing trial, Gísli Freyr is still receiving a full salary. “This kind of comes out of nowhere,

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Asylum Seekers To Get Health Coverage

by

A new bill from the Minister of Health would provide health insurance coverage to Iceland’s asylum seekers. Currently, only those asylum seekers who were expressly invited to Iceland by the government have had immediate health coverage. RÚV reports that this may soon change. This Tuesday, Minister of Health Kristján Þór Júlíusson will submit a bill to parliament that, if passed into law, would provide health insurance to all asylum seekers, whether they were invited or arrived of their own accord. This coverage would go into effect immediately upon an asylum seeker being registered as such. Under the present system, asylum

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Icelandic Weather Report For 2050

by

Birta Líf Kristinsdóttir, a meteorologist with the Icelandic Met Office has posted a video of what a weather report might look like in Iceland in July 2050, reports RÚV. The video has been made in conjunction with the UN Climate Change Summit in New York next week. By 2050, Birta Líf predicts that Iceland will be much greener with summer temperatures reaching between 20-30 degrees celsius. She also goes over the ramifications of the warmer climate and how it might affect the acidification of the sea. Check out her video below, the first half is in Icelandic (subtitled) but stick

Show Me More!