Prime Minister Sigmundur Davið Gunnlaugsson confirmed yesterday plans to review the Framework Programme for Hydro and Geothermal Energy Resources in Iceland, RÚV reports.
The Framework Programme, which was passed by Alþingi last January, had assessed 67 areas rich in hydro and geothermal resources and classified them as either utilizable, waiting to be utilized or protected. The classification was informed by both expert committees as well as public concerns and feedback.
In a radio interview yesterday, Sigmundur said that his government planned to review the Programme’s classification system and investigate possibilities for moving certain power projects off the waiting list and into active operation. Sigmundur also expressed his desire to resume carrying out plans for an aluminium smelter in Helguvík, the construction of which has been slow-going and halting since it began in 2008.
In the interview, Sigmundur also dismissed the some 400-500 e-mails which the former Ministry of the Environment received from the public when drawing up the Framework Programme. Sigmundur claimed that such e-mails often merely reproduce the same message.
Árni Finnsson, president of the Iceland Nature Conservation Association told RÚV that the Prime Minister’s remarks were a sign of his arrogance and ignorance. Árni confirmed that the public comments and concerns were far from identical, mentioning the unique example of salmon fishermen who rallied to protect the stock in Þjórsár river.