Hardanger activists up in arms

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Environmental activists in Hardanger, who don’t want to see power lines built around the scenic Hardanger Fjord, have erupted in anger once again. They’re furious over what they call “propaganda” published this week by state power agency Statnett.

Their fury has resurfaced just after Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg visited the area for what was supposed to be an attempt at reconciliation, while government officials wait for a new study of power line alternatives.

Instead, reports newspaper Aftenposten, the power line opponents are accusing the government of arrogance, and claim a 10-page promotion of the power project from Sima to Samnanger (published by Statnett and distributed with newspaper Bergens Tidende on Tuesday) is a provocation.

‘Propaganda’
“I can’t understand how Statnett can operate with this kind of propaganda,” Klaus Rasmussen of the opposition group Bevar Hadanger (Preserve Hardanger) told Aftenposten.

“This is a case where we have warned of civil disobedience,” Rasmussen continued. “What’s happening now is that Statnett is locking Stoltenberg into starting construction. He’s being used as a brick in their project.

“This is an insult to democracy and to the ombudsman who’s handling complaints over the project.”

Rasmussen also claimed he still feels met with “a great degree of arrogance” in his dealing with staff in the prime minister’s office, and was disappointed that Stoltenberg allegedly wouldn’t listen more closely to their demands during his visit on Monday.

Desire for openness
Statnett officials denied they had embarked on any propaganda campaign, and instead merely wanted to inform the public about their plans for supplying more needed power to the Bergen area.

“It’s just a matter of days before construction will start on the part of the project that has been approved,” Tor Inge Akselsen of Statnett told Aftenposten. He said construction will begin in early October, and “we want to be completely open about that.”

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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