Enviros Protest Massive Dam in Iceland

Extreme weather and remote locations can’t stop the forward march of, uh, progress, as Iceland’s Karahnjukar dam shows. The dam, which will be Europe’s highest, is being built in a huge wilderness area, much to the dismay of environmentalists. They fear it will drown highland vegetation, change the groundwater balance, and create so much mud that in the dry season the dust blowing from the region will choke a nearby town. Moreover, they say, it will disturb the area’s reindeer, freshwater fish, and harbor seals, and destroy some 500 nesting spots of the pink-footed goose. The dam, which is being built by the national power company Landsvirkjun, will have just one customer: an Alcoa aluminum smelter slated to open in 2007.