From Iceland — Government Takes Action On HS Orka

Government Takes Action On HS Orka

Published January 19, 2011

Just days after organisers presented the government with the signatures of some 50,000 Icelanders calling for a stop of the sale of HS Orka to Magma Energy, top-ranking ministers of the government said that they intend to take control of HS Orka.
The petition that artist Björk Guðmundsdóttir and others had helped forward was not just to put the question of natural resources in public ownership up for referendum; it also called for the government to stop HS Orka from being majority-owned by Magma Energy. Up until now, though, top government officials had been reticent on the Magma issue, preferring instead to focus on the question of resources.
That changed yesterday, when Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon said that he wants the government to own a majority stake in HS Orka, which they would invariably have to buy from Magma Energy, since the sale has already been completed.
Steingrímur said that the government is looking at a number of different possibilities, and is not ruling out eminent domain, the state seizure of the company. He also said concerns that such a change in policy might scare away other potential foreign investors were “a storm in a water glass”.
Minister for the Environment Svandís Svavarsdóttir confirmed this for RÚV, saying that the government intends to take control of HS Orka again. She said that there is total agreement between both parties of the ruling coalition over the matter. “So now we’re at the next step, to make a deal with the company,” she said in part.
In related news, the mayor of Reykjanesbær, Árni Sigfússon, along with the conservatives and Progressives on town council, wants to sell the government the land and resources that the town had bought from HS Orka in its time.
No word yet on any reaction from Magma CEO Ross Beaty.
Petition Organisers Take Message To Prime Minister

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