Sámi Parliament takes state of Norway to court

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President of the assembly Silje Karine Muotka says the Norwegian Ministry of Energy on the 26th of June was informed about the upcoming lawsuit.

The Sámi Parliament strongly opposes the Norwegian government’s plan to transform power supply to the far northern Melkøya LNG plant. By 2030, the plant’s gas-driven turbines are to be replaced by electric power, and consequently help cut Norway’s climate gas emissions by 850,000 tons per year. The electrification will require a major development of wind power in the region.

The Sámi legislators argue that projected wind power projects will lead to a degradation of land areas extensively used for herding of reindeer.

Silje Karine Muotka is President of the Norwegian Sámi Parliament. Photo: Avju/Sametinget

“The Sámi Council has publicly and in meetings with the Government clearly called for a reconsideration of the Melkøya decision […] When there is a conflict that can not be resolved politically, then it is quite natural to a go to court for a solution,” Muotka says in a statement.

Muotka underlines that the Norwegian government is obliged by law to consult with the Sámi Parliament in issues relating to the use of land in Sámi areas.

The announcement of the lawsuit comes only one day after Norwegian authorities made public a list of upcoming wind power projects in the region.

The list includes 11 projects, several of them located in areas extensively used for reindeer herding. Public hearings are to start in September, the Norwegian Energy Regulatory Authority informs.

 

Wind turbines in Berlevåg on coast of Barents Sea. Photo: Atle Staalesen

 

These power development plans will have major consequences for the use of land and for the whole population, including the indigenous population, the Sámi Parliament argues.

“It will hugely increase pressure on the territories and have big consequences for the whole population,” member of the Sámi Council Maja Kristine Jåma says.

Norway’s far northern Finnmark region already has several wind power projects in operation. Far from all of them are unpopular among locals.

In Berlevåg, the local Raggovidda wind farm now pave the way for development of green hydrogen and green ammonia.

Both in Berlevåg nearby Kjøllefjord the local wind farms are welcomed by most locals, who see that the turbines generate not only green power  but also good revenue.