Björk Protests Icelandic Geothermal Utility Sale to Canadian Company


From – Jan 23, 2011

by Joanna Zelman

Singer Bjork joined fellow Icelanders in protesting the sale of a geothermal energy company this week, according to a recent Reuters report. In what seems to be a disturbing act of “parliamentary oversight,”
a deal was approved to sell Iceland’s HS Orka to Magma Energy Corp, a
Canadian-based geothermal firm. Since the deal was made, the public has
been fighting it, demanding a vote on the privatization of the country’s
natural resources.

Geothermal energy
is considered an intriguing sustainable resource, produced by drilling
into the earth and extracting heat, which is then converted into usable

This week, Bjork presented Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir with a petition signed by 47,000
people. Considering that the entire population of Iceland is less than
320,000, this is a remarkable number of outraged people. According to The Canadian Press,
the petition stated that “For 100 years, good people protected our
natural resources and public interest. [Then] the sale of natural
resources and irresponsible access to them began. Now it is time to stop
that unfortunate development.”

Sigurdardottir invited Bjork and other activists to discuss the issue in her office. After the meeting, Bjork reported
that “basically we are in agreement on the issue, but it’s always a
question of methods. In plain language, it’s a question of how to deal
with the system, the bureaucracy.”

Meanwhile, Magma reported
that the government has not contacted them, and Monday was “business as
usual.” Although perhaps actions speak louder than words in this case –
Monday afternoon, Magma’s shares apparently dropped 2.9 percent on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.