In the years 1969 to 1973 a conflict took place over the lake Mývatn and the river Laxá in the district of Skútustaðahreppur in Iceland. The company Laxárvirkjun, owned by the Icelandic state and the town of Akureyri, had plans to build a hydroelectric power station in the Laxá river. The plan included redirecting 3 rivers into lake Mývatn to generate more power, as well as building a 37-57 m high dam, with the consequence of putting the entire valley of Laxárdalur under water. The farmers of the valley were not offered compensation for their properties and land but instead they were given a date when the river valley would be flooded.
A massive resistance to the project took place with protests, the creation of a landowner union as well as an environmental protection agency named SUNN. News articles were written, and legal actions were taken; all with the intention to discuss and change the plans with the company and the government. The culmination was when farmers on the 25th of August 1970 blew up a smaller dam (named Miðkvíslarstífla) in lake Mývatn, that was of high importance to the hydro power project. 113 people claimed to have conducted the bombing and in the end it was never revealed who the bombers were. 65 people received a suspended sentence.
After a long complicated legal process the company changed its plans and instead built a much smaller flow power station. The lake Mývatn and the river Laxá were given special protection, a nature research center, Ramý, was founded, and since 1977 the lake with surrounding area has been a Ramsar site. The lake and river are on the tentative list of UNESCO and has been since 2011. (1, 2)(See less)