KIRKENES, Norway – Following a gathering of politicians and citizens in this town earlier this month, calls from its mayor to forbid travel to a Russian oligarch for his hand in polluting Northern Norway have intensified.
Norilsk Nickel, produces a third of the world’s nickel with facilities on the Kola Peninsula, which Norwegian and other scientists have said are responsible for extremely high concentrations of sulfur dioxide on their side of the border, something Rosprirodnadzor, Russia’s official government environmental watchdog has long denied.
But Rune Rafaelsen, mayor of Kirkenes told Bellona in an interview that he’s tired of watching as nothing is done to solve the 26-year-old crisis, and is appealing to Vidar Helgesen, Norway’s Minister of Climate and the Environment to hit Norilsk Nickel where it hurts.
In Rafaelsen’s appeal to Helgesen, he said he wants to see Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin, who owns the majority share of Norilsk Nickel, banned from travelling to Europe until he greens up his act.
He noted to Helgesen that decades of negotiations over Norilsk Nickel’s holdings at the Kola Mining and Metallurgy Company (KMMC) in the Kola Peninsula towns of Mochegorsk, Nikel and Zapolyarny, have done nothing to reduce cross-border pollution of sulfur dioxide, a heavy metal, into Norway.
“We need to act, otherwise we should apply direct influence to the owners of the company,” Rafaelsen said in an interview late last week with Bellona. “Norway must officially announce that Vladimir Potanin is the main threat to the Arctic environment: Norilsk Nickel is the biggest source of sulfur dioxide and heavy metal pollution in the Arctic environment”
For the rest of this article, click here: http://bellona.org/news/industrial-pollution/2016-08-lone-norwegian-mayor-accuses-russian-oligarch-of-fouling-the-arctic-when-will-oslo-follow