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MR. REITEN - SOME WELL MEANT ADVICE
The Managing Director
Mr. Eyvind Reiten
Norsk Hydro ASA
As you will now undoubtedly have been informed by your experts, the Icelandic Planning Agency issued a very clear
ruling against the Krahnjkavirkjun hydroelectric project on the 1st of August 2001.
This 750 MW hydroelectric project
was proposed to be built north of the Vatnajoekull Glacier to provide energy for the planned Reydaral aluminium smelter with
joint Norsk Hydro and Icelandic ownership (the so-called Noral Project). The ruling could not have been more unambiguous in
terms of its arguments and conclusion - the project should NOT go ahead at all! The enormous and irreversible impact it would
have on Iceland's and Europe's largest remaining wilderness area is unacceptable.
In addition the Planning Agency
"... that the data that have been presented are not sufficiently full regarding all the main
parts of the proposed development project in connection with the Krahnjkar Power Plant so as to make it possible to form an
idea of their extent."
Your staff will be carrying out an internal appraisal of the report on the implications
for Norsk Hydro. They should not leave informed public opinion out of account in their analysis. It is not only clear to professional
environmentalists and conservationists that the project must be abandoned; an increasing number of ordinary people, with concern
for the preservation of the ever-dwindling unspoilt natural resources worldwide, are mobilising. We, the undersigned, belong
to this category of concerned world citizens and are busy recruiting as many more as we can.
You must also be aware
that Iceland's prime minister, foreign minister and minister for industry have not only attacked the ruling by the Planning
Agency; but also the integrity of its staff. Lots of Icelanders, as well as ourselves, will be asking if this is 'democracy
at work'; at the very least it is a classic sign of political disunity and miscalculation.
By remaining silent
on the matter, Norsk Hydro in effect condones such practices - this could be interpreted by some as an unwarranted intrusion
into internal Icelandic politics.
Given the above, it is difficult to see how Norsk Hydro can justify its further
participation in the Noral Project. Our advice, and expectation, is that your company withdraws from the project immediately.
We urge you to accept the conclusions and ruling of the EPA report. If you now inform the Icelandic government and Landsvirkjun
(the national Power Company) that you are withdrawing from the project this will make any further action on their part superfluous.
In your loss/gain column do not forget to add your contribution to the future of the natural beauty, the variety
of species and stable environment of Iceland. It will be appreciated everywhere and will be of considerable benefit to your
We want to help preserve a part of what little is left of the once diverse European landscape
for future generations. Here is your chance to help. Trusting that you will reach a decision which will give us all grounds
for celebration, we remain,
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