Fjords or money?

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Fjords or money?

By Tina Andersen


A threat to the beauty of Norway's fjords. (Moyan Brenn on Flickr under a Creative Commons Licence)

On 17 April, the Norwegian government agreed to a mining project in the Førde fjord. Many people disagree with this. It will mean 6 million tonnes of rock and rubbish from the mine at the bottom of the fjord every year for 50 years.

Tine Sundtoft, climate and environment minister, agreed to the project. But many people think that we shouldn’t use fjords or lakes to get rid of mining waste. Only Norway and 5 other countries in the world allow this. Even Canada has made it illegal. Many countries do not allow it because it affects the environment.

In this Førde fjord project, they will explode the top of a mountain and dump it in the water. The Førde has a lot of salmon and other fish.

After the government agreed to the mining, there were protests. People in Vevring by the Engebø Mountain where the mine is planned, cried when they heard the news.

Many people are very worried: environmental groups, local people and researchers. It shows no respect if you give more importance to making money than fresh food and nature. People cannot accept the destruction of a fjord so a mining company can make money.

The local protest group is now working hard to stop the mine. In Oslo, 70 people from Young Friends of the Earth Norway (YFoEN) came to meet the environmental minister Sundtoft outside the royal palace.

The protest was organized in less than an hour. The minister looked shocked at the protest against the mine. But she should know by now that most people in Norway do not want mining waste in their fjords.

YFoEN has said they will do anything to stop the mine. There is now a list of 850 people who are happy to break the law to stop the building of the mine. They are saying to the government: ‘People are going to fight this – it will be difficult for you to destroy the fjords that we love.’

Most Norwegians don’t understand why people put toxic waste in the fjords. The fjords are very important in Norwegian culture, like fishing and hiking.

The mining company, Nordic Mining, is happy with the government’s decision. The CEO, Ivar Fossum, is happy that they will get minerals from the Engebø Mountain. But there has been a lot of criticism of his company and his plans for the Førdefjorden site for years.

Since Friday, most of the people fighting against the mine have accepted that they will have to take illegal actions soon. More people are joining the activists every day.

But there might be some other options. After the minister’s decision, there are three weeks to send complaints to Prime Minister Erna Solberg and King Harald. There is a small hope that the King will stop the plans. Also people are talking about getting help from the European Free Trade Association Surveillance Authority.

There are these legal ways to try to stop the mine. But it might be better to use illegally ways to stop it.

Young Friends of the Earth are planning civil disobedience actions to save the Førde fjord. Tina Andersen is from Young Friends of the Earth Norway (Natur og Ungdom).

NOW READ THE ORIGINAL: (This article has been simplified so the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed).