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Finland, Kemijoki river : End of the Kemiharaa dam project !

Last week, hopefully, the death knell for the old Kemihaara (Vuotos) hydropower plant project on the Kemijoki River in Finland.

For many years, the peatlands of Kemihaara, located in north-eastern Finland, had been threatened by hydroelectric power plant projects, and by the development of a water reservoir in the Vuotos area, which would have flooded 250 km2 of peat bogs and forests along the Kemijoki River. The argument put forward by the Lapland authorities, besides the production of hydroelectricity, was the protection of the population against floods.

The Finnish Nature Conservation Association has fought hard for 50 years to prevent this project. The Supreme Administrative Court was seized twice (2002 and 2019) and twice, the “builders” lost. The 2002 trial was won thanks to the national water law. In 2019, it is Natura 2000 (the Habitats Directive), as well as the national law on the conservation of nature, which saved these wetlands.

In 2019, therefore, the Council of State rejected the application for derogation from the Natura 2000 rules (Article 6.4 of the Habitats Directive) requested by the manufacturer in 2018. The government’s decision is based on the existence of other alternatives than this artificial lake. In other (legal) words, the criterion “no alternative solution” (Article 6.4) was not fulfilled.

For more informations :
Mr Tapani Veistola /Finnish Association for Nature Conservation / Helsinki, Finland /
https://www.sll.fi/

And for those who read Finnish, here is the decision made by the government;
https://www.kho.fi/fi/index/paatoksia/muitapaatoksia/muupaatos/1554870994926.html

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