Sunday, January 20, 2008

Leading Norwegian environmental group demands royal couple drop official trip to Chile on "ethical grounds".

One of Norway's leading environmental groups wants Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit to cancel their official trip to Chile next week, on "ethical grounds."

Officials of Norges Miljøvernforbund have sent an open letter to the Royal Palace, with copies to Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, the president of the Norwegian Parliament Thorbjørn Jagland and the government minister in charge of business and industry, Dag Terje Andersen.

The group is unhappy that the royal couple will visit, and therefore seem to support, Norwegian businesses active in Chile that Norges Miljøvernforbund claims are environmentally unfriendly.

(Al Gore faced similar problems on his visit: Al Gore Dumps Barrick Gold Sponsorship for Chile Visit - Mining sponsorship risked "contaminating" and making a mockery of Gore's campaign. )

The group specifically opposes the royals' planned visits to fish farming businesses. Kurt Oddekalv of Miljøvernforbund claims that salmon farming in Chile "hits ecosystems hard" in areas where "local fishermen are seeing their livelihoods destroyed by Norwegian capitalist interests."

(See: Chile's Flourishing Fish Farms Prompt Fears for Ecosystem )

Oddekalv demanded in his letter that the royals abide by their own ethical and environmental platforms and cancel the visit.

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit are due to be in Chile for three days. Visits to facilities run by Marine Harvest and SN Power are on their official agenda. The latter company has provoked anger among the native population in southern Chile who fear a new hydroelectric power plant will ruin their lifestyles.

(See: Mapuche Protest against Norwegian Hydroelectric Power , Norwegian Power Projects in Mapuche, Chile Heartland Plunder Environment )

Norges Miljøvernforbund, also known as Green Warriors of Norway, describes itself as an idealistic environmental organization, founded in May 1993 and headquartered in Bergen.

Here is the full article.