Minister for Fisheries, Agriculture and the Environment Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson stated at Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament, on Wednesday that he will sign the nature protection agreement on extending Þjórsárver highland reserve shortly.
Sigurður maintained that the limits of the nature reserve had been unclear but that his ministry is working on defining the limits, ruv.is reports. The agreement’s signing was supposed to take place in June but Sigurður postponed it.
“I expect that it won’t take long … so that we can wrap this case up and celebrate a 40-year-old struggle for protecting Þjórsárver coming to an end,” Sigurður commented.
Sigurður’s statement came in response to a question by Katrín Jakobsdóttir, chair of the opposition’s Left-Greens, who asked about his plans for Þjórsárver, reminding him that the signing had been postponed at the last minute.
Chair of the Iceland Nature Conservation Association Árni Finnsson told ruv.is that the association is considering suing Sigurður for going against the Master Plan for Hydro and Geothermal Energy Resources, which states that the government is to protect areas in the plan’s protection category.
Árni pointed out that Þjórsárver, including Norðlingaalda, is within that category but that the minister has twice commented in the media that he would like to construct a hydropower plant, Norðlingaölduveita, there.
“He appears to be trying with political game play to make it look as if he’s extending the reserve in Þjórsárver but at the same time going ahead with Norðlingaölduveita and that is in violation of the law,” Árni claimed.
In related news, former President of Iceland Vigdís Finnbogadóttir was honored on the Day of Icelandic Nature on September 16. She stated at the occasion that she intends to fight for the protection of the waterfalls in Þjórsá river, ruv.is reports.
“I would like for science to invent another method for obtaining energy than exploiting waterfalls that are natural treasures,” Vígdís commented.