Over one thousand environmentalists gathered with green flags outside the Prime Minister’s office yesterday to submit a petition against government plans to review the Framework Programme for Hydro and Geothermal Energy Resources, Vísir reports.
The demonstration was organised by the Icelandic Environmental Union, which collected public recommendations regarding the Framework Programme that various organisations, municipalities, lobby groups and individuals had sent to Alþingi and the Ministry of Environment.
The demonstration was held in reaction to the government’s recent announcement of their plans to review the Framework Programme with the aim of increasing the number of power stations currently in operation as well as the Prime Minister’s desire to carry through plans for an aluminium smelter in Helguvík. It was also a reply to the Prime Minister’s belittlement of earlier public responses to the Framework Programme.
The Chairperson of the Environmental Union, Guðmundur Hörður Guðmundsson, handed over the recommendations and signatures to the Prime Minister’s assistant. Guðmundur told RÚV that some eight power stations would need to be put into operation in order to generate enough power for the smelter in Helguvík and that it would bring 90% of all energy produced in Iceland into the service of manufacturing aluminium, which he did not consider economically sound.
Responding to the frequently cited argument that Helguvík would bring much needed jobs to people of the Reykjanes peninsula, Guðmundur further stated that big industry was not the most viable way to create jobs and that even the leader of the the Youth Organisation of the Independence Party had recently written an article pointing to alternative ways for economic growth and job creation.
Read related Grapevine story here.