Norway’s Supreme Court hears arctic mining licensing case


Two environmental movements, the Norwegian branch of Greenpeace and the Nature and Youth movement, brought the action to court. If environmentalists succeed with their objections, the expansion of the entire mining sector, which is one of Norway’s key sources of wealth, risks being curbed.

Greenpeace representatives rely on the Norwegian Constitution, which says that everyone has the right to a healthy environment. “And we will not protect that if we continue to extract more and more oil. We really hope and expect the Supreme Court to rule in our favor, Frode Pleym, head of Greenpeace’s Norwegian branch, told Reuters.

Environmentalists are turning to the supreme court after lower courts ruled in 2016 that 10 licenses for oil production in the Barents Sea had been granted by the Norwegian government in accordance with the law. According to the Norwegian public prosecutor Fredrik Sejersted, the government’s decision at the time was made on the basis of a detailed legal analysis and thus does not in any way contravene the Norwegian legal order or the Constitution.

But conservationists argue that Norway‘s mining industry is the country’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Nor can it be an excuse that it is a source of considerable wealth, among other things, for Norway’s public finances.


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