In Iceland, Reyðarfjörður is now inescapably associated with Alcoa, the world's largest aluminum company, which recently built a 2km-long (1 1/4-mile) smelting plant on the outskirts of town. The smelter, powered by new hydroelectric dams in the country's interior, remains a very contentious subject. However short-sighted this project may turn out to be, Reyðarfjörður and its satellite towns are bustling with energy after years of economic stagnation and population decline. A housing boom is rushing to meet the needs of hundreds of foreign workers, and locals no longer have to drive to Egilsstaðir to go to the movies or a shopping arcade. Resident opinion runs strongly in favor of the smelter; and the needs of tourists, whose fjord views have been blighted with power lines, factory buildings, and ugly housing developments, were properly left out of the equation. The three towns are the largest in the Eastfjords, and each still has a range of attractions, dining, and accommodations; the latter can be found at www.fjardabyggd.is: Click "i" for information, then "Gisting."
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