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Councils agree to destruction of Happy Valley

Councils say yes to Solid Energy’s destruction of Happy Valley

State-owned Solid Energy has been granted resource consents by the West Coast Regional and Buller District Councils for its proposed opencast coal mine at Happy Valley near Westport, despite strong opposition by local and national environmental groups.

“The West Coast Regional and Buller District Councils are already complicit with Solid Energy’s pollution of the Mangatini Stream and Ngakawau River. Now they are complicit with the destruction of Happy Valley. They have shown that they can be trusted as little as Solid Energy to safeguard the environment,” stated Save Happy Valley Campaign spokesperson Jonathan Oosterman.

“Even if the West Coast Regional Council does its job and adequately monitors the mine, great spotted kiwi and endangered snail habitat will have been made uninhabitable for a significant period of time, if not forever, another 5 million tonnes of coal will have been dug up and burnt, contributing to climate change, and a beautiful valley will have been destroyed. And for what? The coal isn’t even going to help supply electricity, because it’s for export.”

“Never before has a greenfields mine project been allowed to proceed when it was known it would destroy as much as 10% of the habitat of a nationally endangered and absolutely protected species, such as the powelliphanta “patrickensis” snail.”

“Climate change considerations were essentially ignored by the resource consent hearing commissioners. In other words, the greatest potential cause of future world suffering was sidelined as being of too little significance. Such a mindset is suicidal.”

“Being a state-owned enterprise, Solid Energy is an arm of the Government. It is simply unacceptable practice for the Government to cause such significant damage to the environment. Where’s our clean, green image now?”

“The only responsible course of action for the Government is to instruct state-owned Solid Energy to cancel its plans for the mine.”

“The yes decision has been made. Happy Valley will be destroyed, climate change will be worsened, and significant biodiversity will be threatened - unless people make their voices heard in opposition to the mine.”

"The Save Happy Valley Campaign wants to develop public awareness about the proposed mine so that more people will step forward and actively display opposition to it, and to all coal-fuelled energy generation.”

Public meetings to raise awareness and develop resistance to the proposed mine have already taken place in Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, Palmerston North and Auckland, with further meetings planned.

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