Smelter Report "Confirms" Assessment from Saving Iceland - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Smelter Report “Confirms” Assessment from Saving Iceland

Published December 2, 2010

A recent report from the Icelandic National Planning Agency on the negative effects that a proposed aluminium smelter would have on the north “confirms” the criticisms of Saving Iceland, a statement from the group reads in part.
As reported last week on Smugan, the Icelandic National Planning Agency released an evaluation report wherein they state that the building of an aluminium smelter by Bakki, near Húsavík, in north Iceland would have “significant environmental impact” on the area. According to their assessment, the National Planning Agency believes that the project would have a negative impact on the surrounding area. 17,000 hectares of wilderness would be razed, the report says, damaging not just the cosmetic aspects of the scenery but also having a negative impact on the tourist industry. Furthermore, upon completion, the entire project would every year emit greenhouse gases totalling 14% of Iceland’s current CO2 output.
Saving Iceland, an environmentalist group that has been active since the Kárahnjúkar protests, sent a statement to the press saying that the report confirms what they’ve known all along.
“The report confirms three key points of criticism that Saving Iceland has held up in the previous years,” Jaap Krater, a spokesman for Saving Iceland, says in part.
“First of all, that the environmental effects on the surface of the north of Iceland would be much greater than Alcoa has contended. Second of all, when it was announced that an environmental assessment was going to be made, we demanded that the environmental effects of proposed dams at the rivers Skjálfandafljóti, Jökulsá austari and Jökulsá á fjöllum be taken into account. Our calculations, that there is not enough geothermal energy to power the smelter, have now been confirmed. Third, we said that the increased greenhouse gas emissions would be tremendous, and that it would make it difficult for us to stand by international agreements we’ve signed. This has also been confirmed.”
Krater concludes, “If Iceland wants to join the European Union, then this environmental assessment marks the end of the idea of Alcoa’s aluminium production in Bakki.”

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