Indigenous herders from northern Norway have gone to court to halt a proposed wind power project that they say disturbs reindeer migration routes and eats up their land, The Guardian reported on Monday
MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 18th January, 2021) Indigenous herders from northern Norway have gone to court to halt a proposed wind power project that they say disturbs reindeer migration routes and eats up their land, The Guardian reported on Monday.
According to the newspaper, it is not the first of such lawsuits in the Nordic country, and the Sami people have long been entangled in legal battles against the rise of wind farms, with them even appealing to the United Nations for protection.
This time, they are appealing a September ruling that upheld the Øyfjellet windfarm’s license, whose terms herders insist were violated by the constructors.
The problem is that tall wind turbines are often built in areas used for reindeer herding.
“Studies and indigenous knowledge show that reindeer don’t go near wind turbines. These areas are lost from use to the herders,” Aslak Holmberg, the vice-chair of the Sami Council, explained, as quoted by the newspaper.
Related infrastructure additionally eats up the pristine land, which indigenous people see as a cornerstone of their culture and traditions.
“If the routes aren’t available or cannot be used, [the herders] will not be able to get the reindeer to or from winter pasture. [This] can lead to necessary reduction of the herd, which will mean that one or several traditional Sámi reindeer herders will no longer have sufficient economic basis for their business,” Pal Gude Gudesen, the herders’ lawyer, said.
According to the newspaper, the lawyer is pessimistic about the chances of winning and believes that the government “will go far to protect the construction of a wind power plant that has been given concession.”