NORWAY, Oct. 9, 2000, (M2 Communications)—The Norwegian government has granted Naturkraft new gas emissions allowances for two of its planned gas-fired power plants in western Norway, angering environmentalists and opposition parties.

Norway’s environment ministry has set Naturkraft’s new allowance for carbon dioxide emissions for each of its plants at Kollsnes and Karst at 1.12m tonnes per year, which is 90% increase from prior government restrictions according to Reuters. Nitrogen dioxide emissions have been set at a level of 10 parts per million (ppm) from production and five ppm from 2005. The new allowances followed a resolution by the Storting that states that the requirements for greenhouse gas emissions are not to be more stringent in Norway than in other EEA countries.

About 15 demonstrators reportedly turned up outside the environment ministry on Friday 6 October and briefly blocked the entrance under a banner that read, ‘You can’t emit more.’ Frederic Hauge, leader of the environmental group Bellona, told reporters that Norway was an ‘international bad boy’ and that the environment ministry acted out of financial rather than environmental concerns.

Leaders of all three centrist parties have also criticised the decision to raise emissions limits and said that it could create a government crisis, reported the daily VG. Those in favour of the two plants, however, have said that they make sense. Siri Bjerke, environment minister, said that the decision would reduce amounts of carbon dioxide gas in northern Europe, even though it would increase Norway’s own emissions to over 2m tonnes of the gas per year.

In addition, the ministry has said that the advantages that Naturkraft and others will have as a result of the decision are ‘substantially’ larger than that the damages and disadvantages for the environment and that the conditions of The Pollution Control Act para. 18 no. 5 are fulfilled.