Crime on Agrafa, heavy responsibilities of those who support it
by Stelios Anastassopoulos *
Agrafa, one of the most beautiful mountainous areas and a destination of unique historical and cultural value, consists of dozens of 50km long mountains, 30km wide with dozens of wild peaks, 7 of which more than 2000 meters (out of 42 in Greece). Here are the rivers Tavropos, Agrafiotis and hundreds of tributaries and streams that feed Acheloos and Lake Plastiras. They are a labyrinth of dashes, ravines, rushing rivers, dense forests, cliffs and alpine plateaus. The high altitudes, the geomorphological relief, the dense forests, the discreet, so far present, presence of humans have contributed to the preservation of a rich wildlife and dozens of threatened species of Greek fauna and flora.
Here grow over 1,300 plant species such as Asperula pinifolia, lilies, Laburnum alpinum, violins, Doronicum austriacum, orchids and others. The Agrafa are covered with dense forests of fir, black beech, beeches, chestnuts, oak trees, maples, mountaineers, plane trees, elms and others. Due to its rich vegetation hosted many rare birds: vultures, partridges, eagle owls, golden eagles, Short-toed Eagle, buzzards, sparrow hawks and Saint, peregrine falcons, kestrels, Lanner falcon, snow, pyrrokotsyfes, kaliakoudes, chionostrouthoi, vlachotsichlona, woodpigeons, birds, owls, grouse, woodpeckers , sturgeons, shrubs, eagles, whales and others. They host amphibians, such as salamanders, thirds, braids, bobbins, tree-shadows, scotch-swords and Balkan swords. The reptile is also very rich with species such as the lizard of Roumeli, the tsunami, the crown, the dwarf, the safflower, the waterfowl, the shuttle, the Asclepius lavender and the horsetail, which are predators of the rodents that decay the crops. Here are also the three land turtles living in our country: the Mediterranean, the marshmallow and the lagoon. The mammals include the wolf, wild cats, wild boar, ferrets, asbestos, foxes, hares, squirrels and even bears or otters (in the rivers).
And yet this area with extremely rich biodiversity has set investors the goal of installing numerous giant wind turbines. More than 30 applications are related to wind farms in Agrafa and Argithea. Already, for 8 studies, negative opinions have been issued since 2011, preventing the installation of more than 100 wind turbines while the Regional Council of Thessaly unanimously gave a negative opinion in 2016 on Kaprovouni and Giotis on the slopes of Itamos and for a third A / P in Anthropos.
However, on 10/04/2018, the Ministry of Environment and Energy, signed by Minister Stathakis, without any consultation, briefing and discussion with the local communities, allowed the installation of two large areas of A / P, at the borders of Karditsa – Evritania at altitudes 1600 – 2000m and at least 7 km long, with forty (40) original wind turbines, 180 meters each. The first 46 MW power plant of Anemodomiki SA in the position “Grammeni – Tourla – Karnopi” and the second one of Pounentis SA with a capacity of 40 MW at the location “Mihos – Voidolivado – Apelina”.
The capture of the Agraph Mountains is a plan to carry out an unprecedented irreversible environmental crime as the transport of the giant wind turbines and the technical projects needed for such a pharaonic project require the deforestation of huge virgin forests while the consequences for biodiversity will be dramatic. Indicatively, for the 2nd A / P will be required interventions in 50.000 sq.m. for the squares of 20 A / C, 83.874 sq.m. for the opening of new – and otherwise unfortunate – roads of 10-12 meters width, 15.600 sq.m. for the installation of the 78 pylons of the High Voltage Overhead Line (MV) The installation of these two A / P will be altered to an irreversible extent of 843,597 sq.m. forest – grassland areas. At the same time, the risk of fire will increase as management facilities, overhead transmission lines, and wind turbines themselves, prevent the creation of firebreaks. All the area involved is part of the European Natura 2000 network, and it is the first time that alpine and subalpine wind turbines are installed all over the world.
There is no doubt that the impact on local tourism and the economy of our county and of Western Thessaly will be incalculable. These industrial facilities will cancel out any form of mild and friendly development environment in the region and degrade the value of the tourist property that Agrafa recommends and reduce traffic.
It should be noted that if wind energy is, under certain conditions, part of tackling anthropogenic climate change by reducing the produced carbon dioxide (CO2) from the burning of coal, it is difficult to accept that it is advantageous to do with the destruction of forests and virgin ecosystems. Why forests, apart from sheltering the natural reserve, are a major factor in CO2 absorption and hence in greenhouse gas degradation. So telling me that I’m putting turbines on Agrafa – and even with less efficiency due to local weather – to mitigate the greenhouse effect is like saying “I’m making war to protect peace.”
Therefore, as citizens, we must not allow:
– total and irreversible destruction of sensitive mountain ecosystems
– Assigning public property to the profits of some “caps” of private individuals
– Involvement of the historical monument of the Civil War in Nialas
Lastly, the responsibilities for the political and self-governmental actors that support this crime either with their tolerance or with their vote are heavy and long-lasting as they concern the next generations. The Government is called upon to declassify the Agrafa area from a priority area of RES installations, to withdraw the licenses for all wind and hydroelectric projects at altitudes above 1000m but also to abolish the laws that facilitate “investment” raptors rather than he signs such shame. If these two passes are going to be the beginning of the South Pindos fee as we know it.
* Biologist, Regional Counselor with the “Tailing Road for Thessaly”