Bjork protests proposed Iceland energy sale

Asks parliament to review sale of power company to Canada

REYKJAVIK -- Icelandic singer Bjork, known for her political activism, urged parliament Monday to review the planned sale of a local geothermal energy company, saying the deal could harm Iceland's interests.

Environmental issues have caused friction in Iceland before, with construction of a power plant for an aluminum smelter triggering street protests in 2005.

Bjork said she was unhappy with the sale of Icelandic power company HS Orka to Canada's Magma Energy and asked members of parliament to review it.

"Members of parliament! We, Icelanders, ask you for a transparent, open discussion and reconsideration concerning the sale of access to our natural resources," Bjork told reporters.

"Shouldn't the nation be able to decide for itself if it is willing to sell off its natural resources, by means of a law change to enable a national referendum?"

Thermal energy, generated by the heat of its many volcanoes, is one of Iceland's most valuable natural resources and could attract much-needed foreign investment in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

A spokeswoman for Magma said the purchase of the Icelandic company would only benefit the country.

"What we are doing is using the resources and paying royalties to the owners," said Alison Thompson, the company's vice president for corporate relations. She said Magma had no plans for layoffs and that the deal would stimulate the economy.
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