Dam Debate: People vs. Nature? Skip to content

Dam Debate: People vs. Nature?

The environmental NGO Landvernd has sent the Icelandic parliament its reaction to the recent parliamentary proposal on the classification of new power plant developments in the third stage of the national Master Plan on the subject.

Landvernd strongly emphasizes its opinion that it is essential to drastically reduce, or stop altogether, the construction of more large hydro dams in Iceland—at the very least, until a carefully thought out comprehensive energy strategy can be put in place, clearly stating exactly how many new dams can be built over the coming years and decades, and for what reason.

Vísir reports that the Master Plan third stage states where can and cannot be dammed—and Landvernd calculates that the areas classified as okay to dam have the potential to generate 1,421 megawatts of electricity, which is the equivalent of two new Kárahnjúkar dams. Whereas numerous natural treasures have already been sacrificed to heavy industry in Iceland, the NGO claims.

The reaction is not all negative, as Landvernd celebrates the protection of large rivers whose sources lie in the highlands; such as Skjálfandafljót, Jökulsáin í Skagafirði and Skaftá.

Meanwhile the classification of rivers in the highlands, Reykjanes, the eastern West Fjords and elsewhere, including Sprengisandur, as clear for damming, come in for harsh criticism.

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