Category Archives: protest

Auckland Coal Action Exposes Fonterra’s Dirty Secret: Coal

fonterra-fuel-for-the-future1 Fonterra has a dirty secret it prefers to keep from the world: many of its dairy plants are powered by the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel, coal. Fonterra has made noises about switching to renewable forms of fuel, such as wood waste, for its heat plant, but so far, that’s all there’s been – noises. So Auckland Coal Action decide to call Fonterra out. At the annual Fieldays at Mystery Creek near Hamilton, Auckland Coal Action members and friends handed out the leaflet above, together with little bags of wood chips. Here they are in action:

Auckland Coal Action handing out leaflets and bags of wood chips

Auckland Coal Action handing out leaflets and bags of wood chips

Fonterra was badly embarrassed, and event organisers got the protest moved on – but not before it had made a big media impact. Below you can read posts about the action on Auckland Coal Action’s excellent blog, plus a selection of media coverage. Fonterra’s days of hiding its dirty secret are over. Auckland Coal Action coverage

Selected media coverage

Advertisements

Fonterra Sneaks Round The Corner

Jeanette Fitzsimons writes…

Fonterra’s subsidiary Glencoal has put its plans for an open cast mine on SH2 at Mangatangi on hold indefinitely. The local community is celebrating. They worked very hard with submissions on all the impacts of coal mining that you are allowed to talk about in consent hearings – water, dust, traffic – but not climate change, the worst impact of all. We hear Fonterra was really surprised at the strength of the opposition.

Much of the credit though must go to Auckland Coal Action which has turned out seven times on the last afternoon of holiday weekends to face traffic crawling back to Auckland from Bay of Plenty and Coromandel, with huge placards saying

“Fonterra plans coal mine here”

“Coal Cooks the Climate”

coal cooks the climate

“Fonterra could use Waste Wood”

The mine was planned for such a public site, adjoining SH2 and the protests got some publicity, as did CANA’s opposition at the consents hearing. We brought expert evidence (PDF) to show wood chip from forestry residues was available and technically feasible as a boiler fuel with no net carbon emissions. This is what a win looks like. But….

Solid Energy has just reopened Kopako 1, an old mine around 5km away which still contains a lot of coal, on a back road hardly anyone ever a uses except for mining. It’s part of the same Maramarua coal field. They have a contract with Fonterra to supply more than 100,000 tonnes a year for their Waikato milk drying plants. Fonterra has just sneaked round the corner and passed responsibility for the mining to Solid Energy.

mangatangi_deferred

From the perspective of the atmosphere, nothing has changed. Emissions will continue as planned. But we have shown that Fonterra is susceptible to pressure. All those motorists tooting support for the ACA protests has got to them. They have had to sneak away to a less public site. But it’s not that easy.

Now is the time to keep up the pressure. Fonterra is the third largest coal user in the country by far. With the Huntly power station phasing out they may already be the second largest, after the steel mill. At least 400,000 tonnes a year – we are still working out just how much more than that. This is not compatible with the “clean green image” they like to use to sell their milk overseas.

There is a big opportunity here for Fonterra to position themselves as working towards sustainability by transitioning to wood waste. In fact they told us they were doing that, but are dragging the chain. We intend to keep the pressure on to help them recognise their own self-interest.

Images from Heads in the Sand events today

At least 12 Heads in the Sand events were held today – with Motueka as a late addition to the announced list – to give the Government an unambiguous message: get your heads out of the sand and start doing something real about climate change. Images from those events will be appearing on Facebook, with a selection below.

220 people took part in Heads in the Sand at Christchurch's New Brighton beach. This photo gives you a sense of the scale of the event. Photo credit: Alan Bishop

220 people took part in Heads in the Sand at Christchurch’s New Brighton beach. This photo gives you a sense of the scale of the event. Photo credit: Alan Bishop

Mission Bay, Auckland: looking across a lot of Heads in the Sand to Rangitoto at one of 4 Auckland events today

Mission Bay, Auckland: looking across a lot of Heads in the Sand to Rangitoto at one of 4 Auckland events today

220 Christchurch people came to New Brighton Beach for #HeadsInSandNZ. Photo credit: Ruth Dyson

220 Christchurch people came to New Brighton Beach for #HeadsInSandNZ. As local MP Megan Woods said, “Sea level rise will get real here!” Photo credit: Ruth Dyson MP

Images from Wellington’s event at Oriental Bay: whether it’s many of the close to 100 participants high up the beach or one activist daring the rising sea, the message is clear: get your head out of the sand on climate change, John Key.

HITSWGN1

HITSWGN10

 

Browns Bay: part of the crew who turned out for our North Shore #HeadsInSandNZ event which was organised over the last couple of days.

Browns Bay: part of the crew who turned out for our North Shore #HeadsInSandNZ event which was organised over the last couple of days. Photo credit: Gabriele Schmidt-Adam

 

Waiheke took on Heads in the Sand in their own distinctive style. Photo: Peter Rees

Waiheke took on Heads in the Sand in their own distinctive style. Photo: Peter Rees

 

At Bethells Beach, West Auckland, participants gather prior to #HeadsInSandNZ

At Bethells Beach, West Auckland, participants gather prior to #HeadsInSandNZ

At Bethells Beach, this dog was resolutely on-message for #HeadsInSandNZ. Photo credit: A. Rogers / NZ Greens

At Bethells Beach, this dog was resolutely on-message for #HeadsInSandNZ. Photo credit: A. Rogers / NZ Greens

Again at Bethells Beach, Green MP Jan Logie shows her commitment to #HeadsInSandNZ in acrobatic style. Photo credit: A. Rogers / NZ Greens

Again at Bethells Beach, Green MP Jan Logie shows her commitment to #HeadsInSandNZ in acrobatic style. Photo credit: A. Rogers / NZ Greens

It looks a bit nippy at Dunedin's St Clair beach, but that didn't stop these #HeadsInSandNZ participants

It looks a bit nippy at Dunedin’s St Clair beach, but that didn’t stop these #HeadsInSandNZ participants. Photo credit: Ruby Harris

At Dunedin's St Clair beach,   participants face the dunes that separate low-lying South Dunedin from the sea. Photo credit: Namakau Nalumango

At Dunedin’s St Clair beach, participants face the dunes that separate low-lying South Dunedin from the sea. Photo credit: Namakau Nalumango

At Invercargill's Oreti Beach, it was climate change rather than toheroa that had people digging in the sand. Photo credit: Dave Kennedy

At Invercargill’s Oreti Beach, it was climate change rather than toheroa that had people digging in the sand. Photo credit: Dave Kennedy

Nationwide week of action calls on Westpac to stop financing climate change

DumpDennistonLogoCoalPress Release from Coal Action Network Aotearoa & 350 Aotearoa

Westpac banks right across New Zealand will be the focus of a week of action this week, calling on the bank to stop funding Bathurst Resources’ bid to mine the Denniston Plateau.

The campaign, organised by 350 Aotearoa and Coal Action Network Aotearoa, began at a leading branch of Westpac in Christchurch on Saturday with around 20 activists staging a “die in” (see YouTube video). Actions will begin rolling out in other centres today, and will continue until next Saturday, with a total of 13 different towns confirmed at this point.

Bathurst Resources plans to dig up to 84 million tonnes of coal from the West Coast’s beautiful Denniston Plateau that would add up to 218 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and have a devastating effect on the area’s unique ecosystem. Westpac is providing financial backing for Bathurst Resources.

‘Westpac has not responded to calls to live up to their own promises and stop funding climate change, so we’re calling on them to do so.  We don’t consider investing in coal mining is at all consistent with Westpac’s claims that it is ‘future proofing’ its business,” said Ashlee Gross of 350 Aotearoa.

Tim Jones of Coal Action Network Aotearoa said the two groups had recently met with bank executives for a discussion about the campaign.

“In our meeting with Westpac, it became very clear to us that their so-called ‘sustainability’ policy is more about PR than it is about real action,” he said.

At least 80% of fossil fuels reserves must remain unburned in order to keep global warming to 2 degrees. The World Bank and European Investment Bank have recently announced their intentions to stop lending to coal projects, based on climate change concerns

The groups have launched a website where the public can send letters to Westpac calling on them to ‘Dump Denniston.’. 1200 letters have already been sent.

There will be activities this week in Warkworth, Auckland (2), Hamilton, Tauranga, Gisborne, Wellington, Nelson, Motueka, Takaka, Dunedin, Gore and Invercargill.

Join the event on facebook 

Challenge The Government’s Mining Agenda: Wellington, This Thursday

(With thanks to Greenpeace)

(With thanks to Greenpeace)

On Thursday 8 August, Simon Bridges, Minister of Energy and Resources is going to the mining club, Straterra, to “discuss how he sees the energy and resources portfolio evolving and his views on challenges facing the minerals industry.”  He’s speaking at Straterra at 4:45pm.Let’s tell him what those challenges are.  Let’s remind him of the damage the mining he supports is doing:

  • The Denniston Plateau (under threat from open cast coal mining by Bathurst Resources).
  • The Pegasus Basin (under threat from Deep Sea Oil drilling by Anadarko).
  • Taranaki (where farmland is poisoned by fracking).
Let’s remind him about Solid Energy’s recent implosion at huge cost to workers and local communities – this is the boom and bust nature of the mining industry.  Let’s remind him that this is not the future we want in Aotearoa.

Join other Wellingtonians in a demonstration against the Government’s mining agenda.

When: 4:30-6:30 Thursday 8th August

Where: Outside Straterra Inc, Ground Floor, 93 The Terrace.
What: Protest – including chanting, and speeches.  Please bring placards.
Organised by a coalition of community anti-mining groups in Wellington.

If you are on Facebook, please join the Facebook event at https://www.facebook.com/events/291012641040815/ and – this is the crucial part – invite like-minded friends to the protest.