Reindeer Herding Sami in Sweden Demand Wind Power Profits

October 1, 2008 • Philip BurgessReindeer Herders

Reindeer Herder Patrik Lundgren from the Östra Kikkejaurs sameby, Photo Nils Widman

Although on paper, Sami reindeer herders have a statutory right to graze their reindeer over half the surface of Sweden, in practice, industrial activities such as mining, hydropower, logging, infrastructure and the new kid on the block, windpower development culminate in a progressive loss and fragmentation of pastures.

There are now 14 wind power parks planned on paper that are in areas of reindeer husbandry in Sweden. The largest wind park in the world (by German company Svevind) is planned in the Östra Kikkejaurs sameby, and it will cover a quarter of their winter pastures. The project plans to erect 1000 windmills to provide electricity for 2 million homes.

Reindeer herders in the district have been offered compensation, but reindeer herders are looking for a compensation package that spans the lifetime of the project. A social impact assessment found that the construction of roads to facilitate the project would mean 200,000 truck journeys which over a 10 year period means 100 trucks per day with obvious risks to reindeer – loss of pastures, disturbance and deaths due to traffic.

Original Story – Dagens Nyheter

English summary – Barentsobserver

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