Minister of Industry Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir says Björk has gotten some facts wrong about the government’s plans for the Highlands, and wants to meet with her to discuss Iceland’s natural world.
Vísir reports that Ragnheiður, while happy that Björk has an abiding interest in the Icelandic environment, believes that the artist’s objections are based in part on misunderstanding what the government’s intentions with the Highlands are.
“A power line over the Highlands has not been decided on yet,” the minister said. “This is one of the misunderstandings from the meeting. There is no 11-day window to stop it from happening.”
Here, Ragnheiður refers to the press conference held last Friday, wherein Björk and author Andri Snær Magnason told attendees that the government is planning further development of one of the most unspoiled regions of Iceland.
“Iceland currently has the largest untouched area of nature in Europe,” Björk said at the conference. “The government has plans to build over 50 dams and power plants, and to start next year. This could end Iceland’s wilderness in just a few years. We propose to start a national park in our highlands. Surveys already to prove that the majority of Icelanders agree. We have eleven days in which to voice our opposition to these plans. We ask the world to join us against our government: to help us protect our wilderness.”
Ragnheiður told reporters that she realises that one of the main attractions for tourists to Iceland is the unspoiled nature.
“I should maybe invite Björk to meet with me, so we can discuss this,” she said. “To go over the procedures, and join hands to defend Icelandic interests.”
Currently, there is a petition being circulated to declare the Highlands a national park, which would save it from any plans for development the government has, and preserve one of Europe’s last wildernesses.