Boreholes in Eldvörp are a Bore, Argues Nature Conservationist

An online petition has been launched by nature guide and biologist Jóhann Garðar Þorbjörnsson to protest the drilling of boreholes in an untouched region of South Iceland called the Eldvörp craters. The drilling is to be done by the Icelandic energy company HS Orka to assess the potential for the production of natural energy derived from the geothermal activity of the region.

HS Orka gained permission last year from the nearby municipality of Grindavík on the South Reykjanes peninsula to perform the experimental drilling. The plan includes drilling five boreholes into the craters and installing concrete platforms and roads and steam pipes connecting the sites. The purpose of the endeavor is to determine the viability of constructing a power plant on location to harness the energy potential of the hot water coursing underground.

The primary viewpoint of the petition is that drilling according to HS Orka’s proposal will completely ruin this pristine and fragile geological area. The petition states that the “geological wonderland of Eldvörp faces imminent danger as construction plans have been approved that will cause irreversible damage to this unique area.” Jóhann Garðar will present the petition to the mayor of Grindavík when it has 10,000 signatures. However the mayor, Ragnar Róbertsson has expressed that he does not feel the petition will produce any change.

The Eldvörp craters are located within walking distance of the Blue Lagoon, one of Iceland’s most popular tourist destinations. However, it is a site rarely visited. Part of the issue contended in the petition is that allowing for energy development at the craters will eliminate the possibility of capitalizing on the potential for tourism at such a unique natural formation.