DECISION OF THE VAASA COURT
The Vaasa administrative court repieled (14.6.2001) the permission to dam the upper part of the Kemi river and construct a 240 km2 big so called Vuotos reservoir.
Five out of the six members of the court opposed the project.
They stated that it fulfils the criteria of absolutely forbidden construction on basis of large ecological damage.
The power company Kemijoki has appealed against this decision to the supreme court in Finland at 13.8.2001.
Electricity production, an estimated 0,5% of Finland´s energy, would be profited by the companies Fortum, Stora-Enso, UPM-Kymmene and City of Helsinki. The very contraversial reservoir would drown the mires of Kemihaara, an especially valuable IBA-area.
The European Commission decided July 1, 1999 to take action against Finland in the European Court for not having designated Kemihaara mires (among some other areas) a Special Protection Area as required by the Birds Directive.
The Commission has also given a written warning to Finland after the decision of the water court 29.2.2000 to allow to build the Vuotos reservoir. Kemihaara mires are in the "Vuotos area".
The Vuotos reservoir project contradicts the program the Finnish Government, where the protection of the Baltic Sea is stressed. Vuotos reservoir may lead to a eutrofication of the Bothnian Bay, northern part of the Baltic. Swedish authorities (including Naturvårdsverket) have expressed their concern about the effects reaching up to Swedish territorial waters. In hearing of the Vaasa court (february 2000) Sweden was absolutely against the building of the Vuotos reservoir.
Vapaa Vuotos (=Free Vuotos)-movement has appealed to Kemijoki company to refrain from deforestation in the area. It would be an important environmental act from all the companies involved, for example Stora Enso is at the moment the only Finnish company on the TOP 18 list of SAM Sustainability Group, listed by means of Dow Jones index for sustainable development.