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Neglected to Report Environmental Damage

The company Orka náttúrunnar neglected to report contamination of the Andakílsá river to The Environment Agency of Iceland when it occurred, RÚV reports. The company manages the electric station on the river in Borgarfjörður, West Iceland, where a preliminary study by the Icelandic Marine Research Institute has shown significant young fish mortality after utility workers emptied the intake reservoir of the electric plant May 15th, causing a great quantity of mud to flow into the river. The company’s Director of Environmental Affairs has issued an apology.

Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, CEO of the Icelandic Environment Association, says environmental protection laws have been violated.

“In the case in question, it is very clear that Orka náttúrunnar was responsible for informing The Environment Agency of Iceland about the accident which occurred, and, therefore, you can argue the company has violated the law in not doing so. That is the information we have from the Environment Agency, that the company had not informed them of it,” stated Guðmundur Ingi. He adds that it is of note that neither the Marine Research Institute nor the National Energy Authority had reported the matter to the Environment Agency.

“The bottom part of Andakílsá is in a nature conservation area. There is a bird sanctuary that was protected in 2011, as well as having international protection under the Ramsar Convention for the protection of wetlands,” Guðmundur Ingi stated.

He suggests the accident could be an opportunity for Orka náttúrunnar and landowners in the area to consider the viability of the electric station in the area and work toward helping the land recover from the disaster.

Hólmfríður Sigurðardóttir, director of environmental affairs at Orkuveita Reykjavíkur, the parent company of Orka náttúrunnar, confirmed in a conversation with RÚV that the accident in Andakílsá was not reported by the company. She said she regretted the incident and issued an apology. Orkuveita Reykjavíkur reported the incident to the Environment Agency after RÚV questioned them on the matter.

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