Monthly Archives: February 2011

Auckland Public Meeting

Keep The Coal In The Hole

Why Southland Lignite Shouldn’t Be Mined!

Monday March 7th 6pm

Cityside, 8 Mt Eden Road, Newton

Coal Action Network presents Jeanette Fitzsimons on the proposed massive expansion of the coal industry and why it must not go ahead.

Solid Energy have applied for resource consent for the first phase of its plans to exploit billions of tonnes of dirty lignite coal in Southland. If they are allowed to go ahead this will dramatically raise New Zealand’s carbon emissions and will cause other major environmental and social consequences.

Come along for a presentation and discussion on what is happening and what you can do to be involved.

Tea and coffee will follow. Entry by koha.

Advertisements

Backgrounders from CAN and Lower Mataura Landcare

Click to download Coal Action Network Lignite Backgrounder

CAN_Backgrounder_Summer_2010_11

Click to download Lower Mataura Landcare Lignite Backgrounder.  (Thanks to MLC for sharing this resource): lmlc_lignite_backgrounder

Keep The Coal In The Hole- Why Southland Lignite Shouldn’t Be Mined

Briquetting Plant Announced

Solid Energy has announced its former mine site in Craig Rd, Mataura, its prefered site to build their pilot briquetting plant.

This plant is the first of many proposed. Solid Energy want to get their first lignite conversion plant up and running as soon as possible, so that it is harder to stop subsequent, larger, dirtier developments. This plant has to be stopped, and we expect it to face intensive opposition.

Coal Action Network has vowed to fight the building of this plant and has already been quoted in many media sources.

http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/fight-over-southland-s-black-gold-4010221

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1101/S00084/coal-action-network-slams-lignite-plans.htm

For further information on how to join the fight against Solid Energy’s plans get along to one of our public meetings, join our email list, and get active!

Wellington Public Meeting 16 Feb

Keep The Coal In The Hole: Why Southland Lignite Shouldn’t Be Mined

 

Coal Action Network Public Meeting

When: Wednesday 16 February

 

Where: St John’s Church Hall, cnr Willis and Dixon Streets, Wellington

Time: 7pm

 

Speaker: Jeanette Fitzsimons, climate change campaigner, former co-leader

of the Green Party

 

Why Come Along?

 

Government-owned Solid Energy and other coal companies want to mine the

massive quantities of lignite, a low-quality brown coal, that lies under

Southland farmland. They plan to turn it into briquettes, urea fertiliser,

and synthetic diesel.

 

Mining and processing lignite will cause extensive local pollution. Even

worse, it will lead to huge greenhouse gas emissions.  Jeanette will speak on

the effects on people of the mining in Southland, and the much greater issue of the

social justice of climate change where the poor always suffer first.

 

In her recent report Lignite and climate change: The high cost of low grade coal, the

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, estimates

that there are at least 6 billion tonnes of economically recoverable

lignite reserves in Southland. Using all this, as the mining companies

intend, would lead to at least 8.7 billion tonnes of Co2-equivalent

greenhouse gas emissions – a huge increase in New Zealand’s emissions, and

a significant increase in emissions on a global scale.

 

Dr Wright, Parliament’s environmental watchdog, has called for the lignite

to remain in the ground. But the Government, blinded by its love for “sexy

coal”, isn’t listening. Government-owned coalminer Solid Energy has just

announced plans for a pilot briquetting plant in Southland. As far as

they’re concerned, that’s just the beginning.

 

Find out why lignite mining is such a huge issue for the future of this

country. Find out what the Government and the mining companies are

planning. Find out why they have to be stopped. And join the campaign to

stop them.

 

Coal Action Network Aotearoa

Supporter Update 09/02/11

Kia ora koutou,

2011 is shaping up as a very big year for the campaign against mining Southland lignite. Solid Energy has announced plans for its pilot lignite briquetting plant in Southland, the first stage of its massive plans to exploit Southland’s lignite reserves. And a wide range of local and national groups are gearing up to stop them.

Before we get onto the latest developments, here are two important messages:

A) The Coal Action Network email list

The campaign against the expansion of coal mining in Aotearoa New Zealand is growing. But it needs to grow a lot more. We think there are a lot of people out there who are concerned about this issue, or who would be if they knew about it, and who will want to get involved in this campaign.

If you are not on our email list, and would like to be, please send names and email addresses to coalactionnetwork@gmail.com,

The mailing list has been used mainly for announcements and updates from the Coal Action Network. But that’s not all it has to be used for. Anyone on the list can post news, discussion points, or requests for help and information.

And now for the news…

1) Coal Action Network Public Meetings Announced

The Coal Action Network is going public with a series of meetings explaining why the mining of Southland lignite is such a disastrously bad idea, and encouraging people to join our supporters’ list and get active in the campaign. Jeanette Fitzsimons, climate change campaigner and former co-leader of the Green Party, will be the featured speaker at the meetings. So far, the details of the Wellington meeting are confirmed:

Wellington Meeting

Keep The Coal In The Hole: Why Southland Lignite Shouldn’t Be Mined
When: Wednesday 16 February
Where: St John’s Church Hall, cnr Willis and Dixon Streets, Wellington
Time: 7pm-9pm
Web page: http://www.transitiontowns.org.nz/node/2942
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=184510844914298

There will also be meetings in Christchurch, Dunedin and Auckland. Please note that the partial details given below are all still to be confirmed. We will let you know the confirmed details.

Christchurch Meeting

Date: 19 April, evening meeting

Dunedin Meeting (details tbc)

Date: 20 April, evening meeting
2) A Meeting on Lignite in Southland


We were not involved in organising this meeting, but we are happy to include the notice from the Transition Towns website:

Venue: Invercargill Environment Centre, SIT Arcade, 46 Esk Street, Invercargill

Start: 14 Feb 2011 15:30
End: 14 Feb 2011 17:00

Join Dr Susan Krumdieck and others for an informal discussion about
lignite issues in Southland.

Dr Susan Krumdieck is the Associate Professor of Mechanical
Engineering at the University of Canterbury and National President of
Engineers for Social Responsibility. She has been studying climate
change and future energy supply issues for more than 25 years.

http://www.transitiontowns.org.nz/node/2952


3) Solid Energy Spills The Beans

Solid Energy has always been prone to PR slip-ups, and it appears that its recent announcement of its preferred site for its pilot lignite-to-briquettes plant in Southland may have been a case of a Solid Energy spokesperson saying more than he was supposed to, rather than deliberate strategy.

In any case, the cat is out of the bag: as reported by the Southland Times, “Solid Energy plans to build its pilot briquetting plant south of Mataura, at the site of its former mine in Craig Rd, but a large commercial plant, if it went ahead, would probably be in the Croydon area, near Gore.” – see

http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/4572621/Site-for-Solid-Energys-pilot-plant-revealed

http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/4574618/Solid-Energy-plans-briquette-plant

Solid Energy also announced that it would be proceeding with resource consent applications soon – the proposed site for the pilot plant will face less consenting requirements than the other possible sites.

This pilot briquetting plant is the thin end of the wedge. Solid Energy want to get their first lignite conversion plant up and running as soon as possible, so that it is harder to stop subsequent, larger, dirtier developments. This plant has to be stopped, and we expect it to face intensive opposition – see subsequent updates for more on how you can help with that.

Here is Scoop’s coverage of the Coal Action Network’s statement in response to the announcement:

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1101/S00084/coal-action-network-slams-lignite-plans.htm

Here is Greenpeace’s response to the announcement:

http://www.greenpeace.org/new-zealand/en/press/Briquette-plant-a-crime-for-which-Fonterra-and-Government-will-share-guilt—/

4) Lower Mataura Landcare Lignite Backgrounder: Getting A Copy

As the first Southland Times article linked above makes clear, there is strong local opposition to the project, notably from the Lower Mataura Landcare group.

Lower Mataura Landcare (LMLC)  has prepared a comprehensive backgrounder on the Southland lignite. It’s particularly revealing on the local environmental effects in Southland, which haven’t yet received much coverage in the national media.

At 1.3MB, the LMLC backgrounder is too large to circulate on this list. If you’d like a copy, please email coalactionnetwork@gmail.com and I’ll send you one as a PDF file. It will also be posted to this site shortly.

5) They’re Blue-Green, Just Like Algae

While the Government presses ahead with its plans for massive carbon emissions on one hand, it is still trying to preserve the fiction that it has some environmental credibility on the other. National’s environmental fig-leaf is called the BlueGreens, and the Government used the recent BlueGreens conference to make announcements about marine reserves, a clean technology working party, and other green-sounding things. But Greenpeace has pointed out the absurdity of the Government’s green pretensions when juxtaposed with its coal-mining and oil-drilling plans:

http://www.greenpeace.org/new-zealand/en/news/blog/bluegreens-gave-me-the-blues/blog/32756

“At the heart of the Government’s thinking is an hypocrisy that undermines climate action. The Government talk about a clean economy, yet they invest millions in subsidising the fossil fuel industries of yesteryear. It  backs moves to dig up six billions tonnes of the dirtiest form of energy in Southland – which would amount to a climate crime of global significance – and have just declared open season on BP-style deepwater oil drilling in some of our most pristine environments.”

The Government is going to have to try a great deal harder than that to be taken seriously on climate change policy. Ending all plans to mine Southland lignite would be a good start. You might want to remind your nearest National MP of that.

Till next time,

Regards
Tim Jones
for the Coal Action Network