Tag Archives: Parliament
Mining and/or tourism? Government friend and/or foe? Store Norske’s unpredictable future takes more volatile turns
The question used to be what options, if any, were possible at Svea since coal mining was shutting down. Now the dilemma is it might be possible to have mining and other new activities already occurring – but government officials who’ve been so supportive in the past might block some or all of those options this time.
Goals of the alt-white: Officials urge funding avalanche safeguards, defining Store Norske’s future in revised ‘white paper’
Build a wall – or at least a few barriers – to prevent unwanted intrusions. Give the coal mining industry a new life. Embrace the Russians while seeking solutions for dangerous territory.
No, Svalbard likely won’t look like Donald Trump’s American, but the proposals were part of the revised “white paper” for Svalbard debated by Parliament on Tuesday. The document outlining policy goals for Svalbard is being updated three years earlier than expected due to a coal price crisis that has shut down nearly all Norwegian operations here.
Under development: Government’s proposed budget for Svalbard in 2017 boosts science and airport security, omits avalanche projects – for now
New scientific research facilities and a few new officers to boost airport security are in. Avalanche-related construction projects are out – for now, although that might change during the next few weeks.
Power hungry: 20 witnesses detail Svalbard’s future needs during Parliament hearing on revised ‘white paper’
It’s a long wish list and not exactly new, but now it’s officially on the agenda of the deciders.
An underwater power cable from the mainland, revised air traffic regulations, speeding up development of the fishing industry, investing heavily in infrastructure and figuring out what to do with Store Norske were among the many items presented by 20 witnesses last week during a hearing by Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Power plugged: Proposals from solar panels to extension cable to the mainland debated as alternatives to coal
Reality check: Longyearbyen isn’t going to stop burning coal for power during the next year. Or ten. Or maybe even the 25 that represents the existing power plant’s life expectancy.
But a lot of hot air is being generated by those wondering what’s eventually next.
Plugging in a long extension cable to the mainland? An underground hot tub gathering to stay warm? Having folks apply liberal amounts of sun screens?
Low-quality diesel a threat to cars; new fuel offered free
Vehicles filled with diesel between Feb. 19. and March 17 are at risk of engine failure due to low-quality fuel meant for boats being delivered to Svalbard Auto, according to Frank Jakobsen, administrative director of LNS Spitsbergen.
Mine not yours: Parliament OKs Store Norske bailout; private shareholders protest forced sale of stocks
Store Norske is breathing a sigh of relief after getting its bailout by a nearly unanimous vote in Parliament. But the decision intended to keep the company alive at least through next year is also upsetting many people, including private shareholders being forced to give up their holdings at what some say is a shocking low price.
Greenies get a “win” in Parliament in their battle to end coal mining in Svalbard, but it’s purely symbolic since lawmakers are virtually certain to approve a bailout loan for financially-starved Store Norske in the near future. Meanwhile, another more immediate crisis closer to home continues to take its toll as a kennel cough epidemic resulted in a majority of teams being struck from the annual Trappers Trail sleddog race. Plus drones visit Ny-Ålesund, Russian soldiers visit the North Pole and a geologist visits what may be Sauron’s new mountain hideout in this week’s PDF.
Win-win: Green Party’s ‘sustainability’ resolution gets narrow OK, Store Norske gets wide support in Parliament
The first verdict from Parliament: Pursuing environmentally sustainable industries in Svalbard in the future is a worthy goal, but so is allowing Store Norske to continue its coal mining operations for now.
The likelihood of Store Norske’s survival and the extent to which it may need to pursue ventures other than coal mining will likely be revealed Tuesday night when Parliament is scheduled to cast its first vote related to an emergency bailout loan the company says is necessary to continue operating beyond June.
In addition, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries may announce if it will recommend the loan to lawmakers as soon as Friday.