Monthly Archives: May 2011

Solid Energy advised Environment Southland against notification

Having found out that Solid Energy had their lawyers write to the Gore District Council advising them against notifying the pilot briqutting plant application, we thought we’d better write to Environment Southland and ask if they’d received a similar letter.

This was our request under the Official Information Act:

Any letters received by Environment Southland from Solid Energy’s lawyers during the consideration of the pilot briquetting plant application. Including but not limited to, Solid Energy’s lawyers’ legal opinion on the matter of notification.

Here’s what we got sent: OIA_ES_SE_pilot_briquetting_plant

CAN Aotearoa slams mining company for undermining NZ climate efforts

Press release: Coal Action Network Aotearoa

Friday 13 May

For Immediate Use

Coal Action Network Aotearoa has slammed Solid Energy for their non-notified consent applications for a pilot briquetting plant.

“We have just learnt that the Gore District Council has decided that the application may be processed non-notified. Environment Southland made a similar decision on 2 May. (1) Under the Official Information Act, we have been released documents that show Solid Energy’s lawyers convincing the councils of this course of action.

‘This is the first of many lignite consent applications we are likely to see in Southland. There are over 6 billion tonnes of lignite in Southland which Solid Energy and other massive mining companies want to extract, at great cost to local communities who will have to put up with air, noise and water pollution.

‘The Government’s Energy Strategy, which we released to the media a few weeks ago, shows that this Government is determined to push ahead with increased fossil fuel extraction, at a time when we need to be moving away from fossil fuels. If all these lignite plans go ahead they will contribute 7 to 8 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. It comes as no surprise that Solid Energy are getting an easy ride through this consent process, but there are huge public interest issues at stake here.

‘This very week Dr James Hansen, top NASA climate scientist, (2), is speaking to audiences across the country. Dr Hansen has warned, “Coal is the single greatest threat to civilization and all life on our planet.” We encourage people across the country to join the campaign against lignite mining in Southland.

“Even though the Councils have let the public down, we, and many others, will be notifying the public of what is going on in Southland and why we must stop it,’ said Ms Mountier.



Frances Mountier, Coal Action Network Spokesperson

021 175 7484

Notes 1. When a resource consent application is processed non-notified it means there is no chance for public submissions. However, if any of the parties who have been listed as ‘affected parties’ do not give approval for the application to proceed non-notified, then it will become a limited notification application. However it will not be fully notified.

2. CAN Aotearoa is not on the steering group for the Hansen tour but we are thrilled that people have an opportunity to hear from Dr Hansen. For tour details see:

Join our newsletter email list

Kia ora koutou,

It’s been great to meet so many of you at the Hansen public meetings this week.  If you would like to receive the Coal Action Network Aotearoa newsletter please email us on with ‘Subscribe’ in the subject line.

We will add you to the Announcement list, where you will receive the newsletter once a month + approximately one other notice per month.  We run this list to keep you up to date on coal news in NZ, along with details of upcoming events and actions, whether they are organised by CAN Aotearoa or other groups working to phase out coal in NZ.  (You can email us suggested content for the newsletter too – Please do!)

We also host Lignite-Campaign-Discuss, a discussion list of people concerned about the lignite proposals in Southland. This is a place to share ideas, news, research, information etc. (The views on this list are not necessarily CAN Aotearoa’s).  Let us know in your email if you’d also like to go on this list.

Warm regards,


On behalf of Coal Action Network Aotearoa organising group.

The James Hansen Tour is underway!

Kia ora koutou,


The Aotearoa/New Zealand tour of distinguished climate scientist James Hansen has just started – and he’s talking fossil fuels and the climate, including plans to mine lignite in Southland. If you haven’t already done so, please check out the schedule of meetings below, go along to the meeting nearest you, and invite your friends. Watch out for media coverage of the tour as well.



Tim Jones

for the Coal Action Network Aotearoa



Fri 13th May: Palmerston North

1.30 – 2.45 pm public lecture, Japan Lecture Theatre, Massey University


Mon 16th May: Wellington

5.45pm public lecture Rutherford House, welcomed by Mayor Celia Wade-Brown


Tues 17th May: Wellington

8.45 am – 5.30 pm IPS Symposium “Future of Coal,” Victoria University

(he will speak 10.20 to 11.30, on panel 4pm -5.30pm).


Wed 18th May: Dunedin

5.30 – 7pm public lecture, St David’s Lecture Hall


Thurs 19th May: Gore

2 pm public meeting hosted by Mataura Landcare group , Gore District Council


Friday 20th May: Christchurch

12-1pm University of Canterbury, “Intergenerational Policy Implications of Climate Science” A1 Lecture Theatre, University of Canterbury


Friday 20th May: Christchurch

5.30 pm public talk hosted by Kennedy Graham, MP, Canterbury Horticultural Centre, 57 Riccarton Avenue (in Hagley Park).


Saturday 21st May: Auckland

12-5pm. Auckland Town Hall. Festival for the Planet -an afternoon of performance, speakers, workshops and a panel discussion with James Hansen.

Solid Energy pilot briquettin​g plant consent decisions: update

Kia ora koutou,

Two Councils have to make decisions on Solid Energy’s resource consent application for its proposed pilot briquetting plant. They are Environment Southland and the Gore District Council. One has now made a decision.

Environment Southland have decided that Solid Energy’s application to build a pilot lignite-to-briquettes plant in Southland should proceed non-notified … sort of.

The “sort of” is that the approval of a range of individuals, companies and groups named in the decision is required for non-notification to proceed.

The groups and companies are:

Te Ao Marama Inc

Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu

Public Health South

Gore District Council

Fish & Game New Zealand, Southland Region

Department of Conservation

Ardle Farms Ltd (RD 21, Geraldine)

Dongwha Patinna NZ (Gore)

The individuals are:

N W Beattie (Mataura)

K A & E I Whitehead (Gore)

Clint Cummings (RD 4, Gore)

James North (RD 4, Gore)

A Riepma (Mataura)

A G & L J Perkins (RD 2, Gore)

You can view Environment Southland’s notification decision here:

Here’s what Environment Southland has decided, as explained by them:

1. The approvals [of these individuals and groups] are required before the application can proceed non-notified.

2. Approvals have not yet been obtained. The applicant has been given the option of proceeding non-notified with the approvals, or proceeding by limited notification (notice sent to the affected parties). The application is on hold for either the receipt of the approvals or the applicant’s instruction to proceed by limited notification.

3. There is no set timeframe while the application is on hold for approvals.

CAN Aotearoa would have preferred that the application be fully notified, given the importance of the issues involved. At the same time, the decision as it stands at the moment still gives us some opportunities to influence the consenting process.

So, right now, there are two main lines of work being pursued by groups active in the anti-lignite campaign:

* Exploring the legal status of the notification decision

* Contacting these named groups and individuals, where appropriate, to encourage them not to give approval.

If you know any of these people, this is a good time to have a polite conversation with them, and encourage them not to give their approval. Gore District Council also has a decision to make on notification, and it has not yet done so. The latest word from Gore District Council is: “I wish to advise that the Gore District Council has not yet determined how the resource consent will be processed. The application is presently ‘on hold’ pending receipt of additional information. Upon receipt of that information the matter will be determined by independent commissioners. I will forward you a copy of their decision once it is publicly available.”

The pilot briquetting plant is just the beginning of Solid Energy’s extensive plans for lignite mining in Southland. And our opposition to it is just the beginning of the community and national opposition to those plans.

We will keep you posted on how all this goes.


Tim Jones

for Coal Action Network Aotearoa

Pilot briquetting plant notification document

Environment Southland have decided that Solid Energy’s application to build a pilot lignite-to-briquettes plant in Southland should proceed non-notified – sort-of.  And the Gore District Council are yet to make a decision.

We will post an update on this shortly, but from now here is the document from Environment Southland:  Memo_processed_non_notified_April_2011[1]