Repparfjord Sand again reported to the police for environmental crime – NRK Trams and Finnmark

Repparfjord Sand again reported to the police for environmental crime – NRK Trams and Finnmark

– I don't think the legal system knows what they are doing. The case is probably a new country, and they hear more of what the Norwegian Directorate of Water Resources and Energy (NVE) has to offer, says Odd Einar Sakshaug, general manager of Repparfjord Sand.

Since 2003, the company has taken sand and gravel from an area located near Repparfjordelva in Hammerfest municipality.

The river has the status of a National Salmon Waterway and is protected against pollution and development.

River Repparfjord

Repparfjordelva in Hammerfest municipality is one of 52 national salmon waterways. Salmon under the scheme must be protected against encroachment and activities in waterways and adjacent fjord and coastal areas.

Photo: Alan Cloe / NRK

License lost

In 2010, Repparfjord Sand obtained a license from NVE to extract loose material in the area. However, the permit should be suspended during the period from April to July to avoid disturbing the life of the birds during the nesting phase.

In addition, NVE asked for approved detailed plans for implementation.

In 2018, the company lost its license.

NVE said that Repparfjord Sand had breached the conditions it had set. The company was fined NOK 100,000, which was not accepted. The case ended up in courtrooms, and in 2021 the company was sentenced in Hammerfest District Court.

They appealed to the Court of Appeal, but were unsuccessful.

Sand extraction in Repparfjord

The gravel roof is 400 meters from Repparfjordelva. NVE believes the owners did not take into account the license conditions, which, among other things, require operations to stop between April and July to protect the lives of the birds during the nesting season.

Photo: Alan Cloe / NRK

A police complaint was lodged again

Since then, the company has continued to remove loose material from the area, the directorate says. NVE has submitted a new police report on Repparfjord Sand.

The Finnmark Police District confirms that they are investigating the case for violation of the Water Resources Act.

Sakshaug and Repparfjord Sand indicate that they take mass from their own land, and that this takes place at a good distance from the aquifer.

He also emphasizes that the extraction takes place in the sea and does not touch the river.

– Environmental crime

– We define this as an environmental crime, says Mari Hek Gundersen, Head of the Environmental Supervision Division of Waterways at the Norwegian Directorate of Waterways and Energy.

MARI HEGG GUNTERSEN Head of Division, Supervision and Emergency Department at NVE

– This is an environmental crime, says Mari Hegg Gundersen, Head of Waterways Environmental Studies at NVE.

Photo: John Peterson / NRK

He believes that Sagshack's arguments fall on their own illogicality.

– It was decided in the court case that this is completely within the scope of what we define as an area that requires a license, so we disagree, Heck Gundersen insists.

She describes the case as disturbing.

– It is rare for actors to not comply with laws and regulations as all actors do. We think it's too serious, which is why we've submitted a new review, says Heck Gundersen.

David vs. Goliath

Repparfjord Sand received legal assistance from Trond Biti. He represented the company in two court circuits. On behalf of his client, he insists they have the benefit of seeing documentation that birds and wild salmon are harmed by commerce.

Trant Pedersen Pt

– NVE is unable to prove concrete damages, yet they choose to impose almost impossible conditions on the company, says company lawyer Trent Beatty.

Photo: Nils Henrik Masso / NRK

– First, it is David's fight against Goliath. It's special that you can't document negative effects.

– Salmon runs and salmon numbers are in good condition and birds are doing well. So they can't prove concrete damage, yet they choose to impose almost impossible conditions on the company, says Pitti.

Investigation

NVE insists they are related to an ongoing investigation.

– This is a boring case that has been going on for two years. Heck Gunderson says he hopes this is the last time he reports on this relationship.

Repparfjord Sand and Ole Einar Sakshaug did not want to give up without a sword attack.

– Do you think there will be a new test?

– It's hard to say, but I believe, he says.

– You have already been convicted once. What makes you believe you will win a potential new case?

– Trusting the government is like swearing in the church. It has become a point of honor for NVE. They want to leave us, says Shakshak.



30.06.2024, at 09.46 hrs

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