The Power Company Reply

The letter below, dated 13 July 2001, was recently received by a Eurobirder member.

We will be asking the Icelandic conservation organisations for their comments.

As PROACT has not yet received replies from ANY of the addressees, despite sending letters by post, we aould like to hear from anyone who has any responses. *TIA*

The National Power Company of Iceland - Landsvirkjun

July 13, 2001

Dear Madam,
Dear Sir,

We have received a few identical letters regarding our planned hydro
project in two glacial rivers in the Northeast of Iceland.

We would like to thank you for letting us know of your concern in this
matter. You can rest assured that we have been proceeding with the utmost
care with regard to the environment in the research, design and
preparations for this project. Some of you sent copies of your letter to
the State Planning Agency which will take it into consideration in its
deliberation on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) according to
Icelandic law which is based on the current EU directive on EIA. The
Icelandic authorities will now evaluate the project and reach a conclusion
on whether or not to allow us to proceed.

Since your letter does contain some inaccuracies with regard to matters of
fact, we would like to point out the following:

· Our research on the effects of the project involved over 3% of the
area of Iceland or about 3000 km˛. This research has shown that the
project has effects on only a very small part of that area.

· We did extensive research on the habitat of all forms of life in the
area affected, including birdlife. This research was conducted for us by
the Icelandic Institute of Natural History. The conclusion of that research
is that your fear for birdlife and endangered species is groundless.
Effects on bird habitats will be minimal and any decrease in the bird
population will be within the margin of error for estimates of the
population size.

· You claim that we are breaching international agreements with regard
to nature conservation. This is not correct. Furthermore, we have pointed
out to the authorities that the development of a large national park and
conservation area in the district can go hand in hand with the proposed
hydro project.

· You claim that increased electricity generation for the proposed
aluminium industry is irresponsible since it increases emission levels and
contributes to global warming and pollution. In answer to that we would
like to point out that the Brundtland Report, "Our Common Future", urges
the nations of the world to utilize renewable energy sources, including
unharnessed hydro, on a global scale. This will allow a reduction in the
greenhouse effect and should be a priority energy issue in the 21st century
(See chapter on energy, pp. 192-196).

Iceland is world leader in production of electricity per capita. Almost
all our electricity is produced with renewable and emission free methods.
This production has up to three hundred times less greenhouse effect per
person than the electricity production in most other Western countries.
While the annual CO˛ emissions due to electricity production is about 20
kg per Icelander, the figure is 4500 kg per German, 6500 kg per American
and 3500 per Englishman. Increased electricity production in Iceland,
not least for aluminium production which is used to decrease emissions
e.g. in automobiles, can in fact be one of the country's largest
contributions in the battle against global warming.

We are well aware that a project of such magnitude as the Kárahnjúkar
project is bound to generate controversy and it is important that the
developer does not conduct his affairs in a vacuum. We therefore
appreciate that you should let us know of your worries. We assure you,
however, that our work emphasizes concern for the environment and
Icelandic law ensures that decisions will be made in a responsible manner
in accordance with the strictest European standards


Thorsteinn Hilmarsson
Head of Corporate Communications
July 13, 2001

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