Monthly Archives: June 2013

Do the right thing, Fonterra: Quit Coal

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Coal Action Network Aotearoa applauds Fonterra for no longer accepting milk from farms that have converted marginal land into dairy pasture using oil and gas drilling waste (known as “land farming”). Fonterra say the perception of a safe clean dairy industry was a factor in this decision.

It’s not a good look for Fonterra to collect milk from farms contaminated with toxic waste from the fossil fuel industry and they are right to stop that practice.

But if Fonterra are worried about perception, they should stop using coal in their milk drying plants. Fonterra milk comes at a terrible cost to the environment and the climate, tainted as it is with coal. Continue reading

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Solid Energy appears locked in combat over who should pay for lignite plant

UPDATE:  Press release, 20 June 2013 – Solid energy has now released a statement… so we have responded: 

Coal Action Network activist at Mataura briquetting plant

Coal Action Network activist at Mataura briquetting plant

According to information in an OIA about health and safety issues at the Mataura plant – recently received by CANA – the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment also has expressed concerns about the safety of the technology.

In handwritten notes an MBIE staffer noted the closure of GTL’s North Dakota plant:

“At plant in USA was an overpressure event – was when plant stopped. Dust spontaneously combusted.”

Another staffer had also written a report of their visit to the plant:

“I said I had a concern expressed to MBIE that plant has potential to explode.”

CANA has heard that two managers have already walked away from the plant citing safety concerns.

“Solid Energy has no money to pay for the at least $1.6 million required to get the lignite plant in Southland going and is right to walk away,” said Rosemary Penwarden from Coal Action Network Aotearoa. “But GTLE should also walk away.

Continue reading

Time to Divest from Bathurst Resources

Introduction

Bill McKibben’s current speaking tour has put divestment from fossil fuels firmly on the agenda in this country. CANA strongly supports this campaign, and naturally, our focus is on divestment from coal. This blog post is about the need to divest from one particular coal company: Bathurst Resources.

Bathurst Resources is an Australian mining company that is trying to relocate to New Zealand, primarily to undertake coal mining – although we understand that they also have gold mining interests on the West Coast. Their flagship project – at least, it would be their flagship project if they could ever get it started – is their plan to rip apart the beautiful and biodiverse Denniston Plateau on the West Coast for coal.

Bathurst’s ambition is to become a large coal mining company. And Bathurst has powerful friends. Prime Minister John Key turned up to open Bathurst’s Wellington office – and 260 anti-coal activists turned up to tell him why that was a really bad idea.

So, for all those reasons, Coal Action Network Aotearoa regards Bathurst Resources as an opponent we need to take seriously. Fortunately, if ironically, we have a powerful ally: Bathurst’s investors, who have become increasingly irked at Bathurst’s protracted failure to deliver them the promised returns: something which has been reflected in Bathurst’s falling share price. Continue reading

Biodiversity Defence Society Inc. Press Release: Mining Consent Expired For Happy Valley

Biodiversity Defence Society Inc.

Wednesday 12 June
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Mining consent expired for Happy Valley

The Biodiversity Defence Society is filing declaration proceedings with the Environment Court today, arguing that Solid Energy no longer holds resource consents for its Cypress Mine. The resource consents for the mine – gained in 2005 – were due to expire at the end of 2012 if mining activity had not begun.

“Happy Valley is still intact,” said BDS spokesperson Helen Tulett, “While a road has been built in, the company has not begun blasting a mine pit, removing overburden and extracting coal. Mining activity has not begun and that means the consents are no longer valid. We’re asking the court to confirm that.”

“This mine should never have been given consent,” she added. “And we believe that if the company applied again today, consent would not be granted. In the last seven years, tools for assessing biodiversity significance have advanced considerably. Threat status for some species has changed. Biodiversity offsetting criteria have been developed. The need to act on climate change has increased – even Solid Energy’s former chairman has admitted that there is no future in fossil fuels.”

“Happy Valley’s outstanding and fragile natural environment is not being judged against today’s rules, but those from nearly a decade ago.”

Solid Energy’s planned Cypress Mine in Happy Valley has been the subject of nationwide protests, and the site of a three-year occupation camp. The area is part of the unique and threatened Buller Coal Measure Ecosystem, which includes the Stockton and Denniston plateaux.

For more information contact BDS spokesperson Helen Tulett on 0272593388 or helloon@gmail.com

Notes:

1. The Happy Valley resource consent conditions are available at http://www.solidenergy.co.nz/coal/operations/assets/cypress-environment-court-conditions.pdf.
The consent lapsing period is given at A5 as seven years.

2. A map of the area and recent photographs are available on request.

3. The Happy Valley area is situated at the head of the Waimangaroa Valley on the Stockton Plateau.

Happy Valley is home to threatened native species including: great spotted kiwi, South Island kaka, kakariki, Powelliphanta patrickensis, western weka, western long tailed bat, and the South Island fern bird.

Many other endemic species also live here, including: New Zealand robin, tomtit, red tussock, pygmy pine (the world’s smallest conifer), pink pine, southern rata, and numerous rare mosses and lichens.

4. Solid Energy are quoted as advising a contractor that it was delaying the Cypress Mine Project in October 2012. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10837929

5. The Biodiversity Defence Society has previously submitted against resource consents for Solid Energy’s next planned mine, Mt William North, which would be next to Happy Valley. Solid Energy also has plans to continue a line of mines, after Happy Valley, down the Waimangaroa Valley towards the Denniston Plateau.

Bill McKibben Tour: Updated Details Of In-Person And Broadcast Events

As previously reported, 350.org founder Bill McKibben is bringing his “Do the Maths” climate change tour to Aotearoa – and now the tour will reach way beyond the three live venues of Auckland, Dunedin and Wellington.

Appearances in person

There are three in-person events:

  • Auckland – Tuesday, 11 June, Epsom Girls Grammar School Hall, 7-8.30pm: Buy tickets
  • Dunedin – Wednesday, 12 June, Colquhoun Lecture Theatre, Dunedin Hospital, University of Otago, 12 June, 7pm: RSVP
  • Wellington – Thursday, 13 June, The Embassy Theatre, 7-8.30pm: Buy tickets

Please note: Invercargill event is now a delayed broadcast on Thursday 13 June

The Invercargill event, which was originally listed as a live broadcast on 11 June, will now be a delayed broadcast starting at 6.45pm on Thursday 13 June at Level 3, 5 The Crescent.

Live broadcasts on Tuesday 11 June

Bill McKibben’s Auckland presentation will now be broadcast live to many other centres. Current details are below. For updates, please join the Facebook event to receive the latest updates, or check math.350.org/nz.

Tuesday, 11 June, 6.45pm-9pm by live video stream

  • Palmerston North – All Saints Community Centre
  • Gisborne – Gisborne District Council building
  • Tauranga- Wesley Centre, 100 Thirteenth Avenue
  • Hamilton – Room S.G. 03, Knighton Road, University of Waikato
  • Waiheke Island – Waiheke Community Cinema
  • Nelson – The Yurt at The Free House, 95 Collingwood Street. Seats limited RSVP at http://billmckibbennelson.eventbrite.co.nz/ to guarantee a seat.
  • Christchurch – Jack Mann Auditorium
  • Timaru – Aoraki Polytech – Room G3,Godley Block, Arthur St
  • Golden Bay – 20 Central Takaka Rd, Takaka. Limited capacity, lease RSVP to helloon@gmail.com