Another addition to climate change approved

19 Oct

Media release from Auckland Coal Action 16 October 2013

Today’s decision to approve yet another new coal mine demonstrates again that NZ law cannot deal with climate change says Auckland Coal Action (ACA).

It is also failing to protect communities from disruptions to their way of life and threats to their health.

Consents issued by Waikato Regional and District Councils today have approved a 120,000 tonnes per year coalmine at Mangatawhiri in the north Waikato. The mine was applied for by Glencoal, a Fonterra subsidiary, to supply their three large Waikato milk drying plants.

ACA extends its sympathy and support to the residents of Mangatawhiri that the hearings panel has found their concerns about the health and quality of life effects of dust, noise, water, traffic and landscape to be “minor”. This seems to be largely because they did not call expensive expert witnesses to back up their case and Fonterra’s expensive expert witnesses carried the day.

“The panel acknowledged evidence from Coal Action Aotearoa’s expert witness Mr John Gifford, that Fonterra could use wood waste instead of coal, making the mine unnecessary” said Jeanette Fitzsimons. “However they said they would consider this only if they found the disbenefits to the local community were significant”.

“This is yet another indication that the law relating to climate change is inadequate. There is no serious central government policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local government is precluded from considering them when granting resource consents.”

Meanwhile renewable carbon neutral wood waste, which could substitute for the coal, rots on landing sites in forests because coal, which does not have to pay any substantial penalty for its environmental effects, is cheaper.”


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