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Power Line Bill Postponed

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Power Line Bill Postponed

Alþingi, Iceland's parliament

From Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament. Photo: Páll Kjartansson.

A parliamentary bill, intended to ensure that work on a power line project in North Iceland resume, will not be voted on in Althingi, the Icelandic parliament, before the October 29 election, RÚV reports. The government made the decision at a meeting this morning. The bill was prepared by Minister of Industry and Commerce Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir.

Debate on the issue took a new turn yesterday when the ruling committee for environmental and natural resource invalidated the decision of Skútustaðahreppur district to agree to grant the company Landsnet a permit to build a power line from Krafla to the industrial area at Bakki, near Húsavík, North Iceland.

A silicone plant is being constructed there by the company PCC. The Icelandic Environment Association (Landvernd), and the environmental association Fjöregg had filed a complaint with the committee regarding the power line project.

They believed the project violated environmental laws passed last year, which aim to protect sensitive lava fields. They wanted Landsnet to consider laying parts of the power line underground.

The Ministry of Industry states that the government’s decision this morning was made after consulting with local governments in the affected area. The power line project permits that have been issued will be reviewed, and a decision made regarding what reactions are needed to eliminate any uncertainty regarding the project. The ministry is pleased that no new environmental assessment is needed. That in itself eliminates much uncertainty, in the ministry’s view.

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