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WWF Sues Norway on Deep-sea Mining

World Wide Fund for Nature-Norway (WWF-Norway) has launched a lawsuit against the Norwegian government for the opening of areas to deep-sea mining activities. Norway is among the first countries to open areas for seabed mining, despite warnings from experts, as well as criticism from the EU and global research communities. “We believe the government is violating Norwegian law by opening up for a new and potentially destructive industry without adequately assessing the consequences,” said WWF-Norway CEO Karoline Andaur. “It will set a dangerous precedent if we allow the government to ignore its own rules, override all environmental advice, and manage our common natural resources blindly.” The Norwegian government was given a two-week deadline to respond to the notice of the lawsuit when it was first launched in April, but failed to reply. “We hoped the notice of a lawsuit would prompt the government to reconsider and withdraw its controversial decision, [but] unfortunately, [we] see no other options but to proceed with legal action,” Andaur added. WWF-Norway believes that the strategic impact assessment led by Norway’s Ministry of Energy underpinning the government’s decision to open areas for seabed mining fails to meet minimum requirements set out in Norway’s Subsea Minerals Act. This concern was also highlighted by the Norwegian Environment Agency through a public consultation response. “While other countries opt for a moratorium to gather sufficient knowledge about the deep sea environments to assess the consequences of mining and ensure the effective protection of the marine environment, the Norwegian Offshore Directorate has already invited industry proposals for extraction licences,” said Andaur. “This approach is both arrogant and cynical, damaging Norway’s reputation as a responsible ocean steward.”

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