Værøy i Lofoten lever midt i spennet for nordområdepolitikk; sentral både i fiskeindustrien og i spørsmålet om å tillate oljeboring utenfor Lofoten. (Foto: Elisabeth Bergquist)
The waters around Værøy in Lofoten are hotly contested - should oil exploration be allowed or not? (Foto: Elisabeth Bergquist)

Conservatives Turn on Lofoten Petroleum Exploration

This morning, news broke that the majority of the Program Committee of the Conservative Youth Party argues that Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja should be permanently protected against petroleum exploration. This stands in sharp contrast to the parent party’s position.

The debate about whether or not to start an impact assessment and potential petroleum exploration in the waters near Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja in Northern Norway is polarized and fierce. The Conservative Party has been a clear supporter of petroleum development of LoVeSe, the acronym under which the area is known, but now the tide may be turning.

– The Conservative Youth Party has all environmental advice, the majority of its own electorate and an overwhelming majority of the population on its side should its annual congress decide to support an oil-free Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja, says Ingrid Skjoldvær, Deputy Leader of the NGO People’s Action for an oil-free Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja. – We need the Conservative Youth Party onboard to make sure the vulnerable and unique ocean areas outside LoVeSe are permanently protected against petroleum activities.

She is supported by Young Friends of the Earth Norway. – Research shows that there is a far higher potential in renewable jobs in fisheries and tourism than there is for the oil industry. It is great that the Conservative Youth Party realizes that our future jobs are in renewables and that they cannot be placed at risk due to oil spills, says Leader Gaute Eiterjord of YFE Norway.

YFE Norway, along with many others, want to maintain the spawning areas for fish in Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja, which are home to a.o. the world’s largest cod stock.

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