Valbona Valley National Park in Northern Albania is being destroyed by "small" hydropower plants. The plants are privately owned, and even by the developer's estimate are only minimally profitable.
A handful of locals and Albanian activists are arguing for environmental protection, sustainable economic development and rule of law and are struggling to fight one of the most powerful business interests in Albania backed by the Albanian Government.
Starting in 2009, unknown to the people, the government approved THREE hydropower concessions, totaling up to 14 plants, in Valbona Valley National Park - the most beautiful and beloved national park in Albania (named in 2016 by National Geographic as one of the top 9 outdoor locations in the world!). The environmental assessments are cursory at best, full of lies and inaccuracies that demonstrate a complete lack of knowledge or research and give zero confidence that the projects will make any efforts to minimize destruction of the environment. The public consultation process was bogus and non-existent, and included the signatures of dead people.
It is incomprehensible that these projects could be allowed to continue - not only for the wanton destruction of Valbona, but for the dangerous precedent they set for Albanian development standards - but we need your help to fight them!
The Valbona hydropower projects will completely enclose 25 km of the Valbona river (most of its length) in a series of 3 metre wide PIPES removing at least 80% of the only available water source for the animals, forest and local villagers - the Malesori people - who have lived here for hundreds of years. Not only this, but one of the most popular tourism attractions in the country will be gone, having an enormous potential impact on the Albanian economy. If successful, more than half the valley will be destroyed, dealing a death blow to the National Park, and crippling the local community. Construction work on the two largest plants commenced on 28 September last year, but it is NOT too late to put a stop to this devastating project and allow the forest to heal, albeit with a scar.
We are desperately seeking funds ASAP to cover legal, protest and administrative costs! As crowdfunding is unavailable in Albania, this campaign is kindly being sponsored by TOKA's "deputy" Mr. Neritan Gjoka in Spain, who will withdraw and forward the funds. We cannot thank him enough for all the work he's done to help Valbona. Please feel free to stay in touch, and learn how your contribution has been used and so we can thank you!
Please, please help save this special place. Share with your friends and spread awareness of this travesty before Valbona is lost forever.
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