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Widespread Support For ARC Diesel Initiative

Friday 8 June, 2001

The Auckland Regional Council has been inundated with messages of support today over efforts to reduce sulphur levels in the region’s diesel.

ARC Chairman Philip Warren says only the stubborn and inexplicable opposition of Mobil and Shell is denying Aucklanders the opportunity to breathe cleaner air almost immediately.

The four major oil companies and the New Zealand Refinery Company say sulphur levels in diesel could drop more than half, almost immediately and at minimal cost. The only prerequisite for this is the support of all four major oil companies and while Caltex and BP are right behind the initiative Shell and Mobil are refusing to support it.

“We’ve had feedback today from as far away as Otago and Hawkes Bay, from councils, transport operators and individuals who are all right behind us.

“I called for a boycott of Shell and Mobil this morning and we have already had a phone call from one truckie who is so fed up with the antics of these two companies that he is prepared to get his own leaflets printed and distribute them around his contacts encouraging them to take up the boycott.

“The Northern Regional Transport Association is calling for the oil industry to get its act together and introduce low sulphur diesel.

“BP and Caltex have reiterated their support today. Stagecoach, the country’s biggest diesel customer, has repeatedly and publicly backed the ARC initiative. It would love to have cleaner fuel for its buses and ferries.

“The Green Party has taken the initiative at a central government level with a statement backing the introduction of low sulphur diesel. As well as the public endorsement, my staff at the council have been fielding phone calls all day.

“The messages I am getting are unanimous. Mobil and Shell are out of step with the environmental wishes of the country and the environmental values they themselves claim to adhere to.

“I only hope that this public outcry will help them see sense and come back and talk to us so we can achieve the positive environmental outcome for Auckland which we set out to do.

“I say again, our door is open to Shell and Mobil for meaningful dialogue on this issue.”

Cr Warren says anyone wishing to show their support for the ARC’s initiative can logon to www.smokey.org.nz/icare where they will find information and a box to tick to show their support.

Ends

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