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Sami district rejects wind power compensation

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Sami district rejects wind power compensation
06:53 CEST+02:00
The Sami district of Östra Kikkejaure in the far north of Sweden has rejected an offer of compensation for wind turbines planned in the area, arguing that they disturb their reindeer.

The district was offered 5,000 kronor ($695) per annum per turbine - a total of 5.5 million per annum, on completion of the project, but has demanded a significantly higher sum, local newspaper Piteå-Tidningen reports.

"We say no. The money is not in parity with the problems that this causes and the threat against our reindeer herding," Anders Ruth at the district told the newspaper.

The government has given its backing to the construction of 1,101 wind turbines in Markbygden, an area that is used by reindeer herders from Östra Kikkejaure for the winter grazing of their 4,000 strong flock.

The wind turbine project will affect about 25 percent of the grazing areas and the government has ruled that the Sami should be compensated.

"The same number of reindeer have to be fed from a reduced area, which will be exploited harder. It won't work, and it is not possible to find alternative grazing areas," Ruth told the newspaper.

The Sami argue that without sufficient grazing the reindeer will have to be given extra feed and this comes at a price, reported to be around twice that offered by Svevind, the wind power firm behind the project.

The planned wind power investments in Markbygden are estimated to cost 40-60 billion kronor and will generate as much energy as two nuclear reactors.

An estimated 20,000 Sami live in Sweden, with the population concentrated in the far north of the country.

Sweden contains a total of 51 'samebys', the administrative and financial district collectives which by law have the sole right to conduct reindeer herding in Sweden.

Currently, about 10 percent of Sweden's Sami population belong to a sameby (literally ‘Sami village'). In addition to the right to control reindeer herding, members of a sameby also have hunting and fishing rights within its designated area.

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