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Calls for Holcim to release emission data

Waiareka Valley Preservation Society Inc.

The Society calls on Holcim to immediately release the relevant scientific data on emissions

Press Release 4 December 2006

The Waiareka Valley Preservation Society held it’s first meeting on Sunday and was delighted by both the attendance, and level of concern expressed about the future of the Valley should Holcim’s cement plant at Weston be granted resource consent. The Society continues to gain members every day.

Dr Peter Rodwell was voted as the Chairman of the Society. Dr Rodwell commented that:

“Water, not cement, is the new gold for the Waiareka Valley. Cement manufacturing and water do not mix. With $65m now spent on bringing fresh water to the Valley, the future has changed significantly from the need for industry to intensive farming and horticulture. Any significant mercury and heavy metal contamination will destroy this new future”.

The Society calls on Holcim to immediately release the relevant scientific data on the likely emissions from the proposed Weston plant. When Holcim wanted to build a similar plant in New York State two years ago, it was estimated that the 120m smokestack would emit 5,000 tonnes of pollution per year.

In October Holcim stated that where there were no NZ standards available on air emissions of heavy metals, Holcim would use the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Effects Screening Levels.

However, in recent years scientific journals have said that the Texas’s Effects Screening Levels lack scientific backing, obscure what concentrations of chemicals are safe and unsafe, and allow industry to release amounts of pollution that other states in the US consider unsafe.

By committing to Texas standard’s Holcim is telling us that they are setting the environmental bar very low. Why should green and clean New Zealand tolerate standards considered unacceptable in most states in the United States?

It is important we understand that the plant Holcim is proposing was rejected by the State of New York in 2005 as posing an unacceptable risk. The New York Times in an editorial argued that Holcim’s proposed cement plant was “wildly out of scale

for its setting, and important questions about the potential effect of its emissions and its daily operations have not been answered”.

Today that is the exact position that we find ourselves in.

It is not right that we should have to wait for Holcim to provide the relevant data in their resource consent application. That is not consultation. If Holcim is serious about genuine consultation with the local community, they will take immediate steps to provide substantive data now.

The community need facts and data, not platitudes.

The Society will be holding a public meeting at the Weston Hall at 7pm on Tuesday 12 December to share with the community the information we have collected so far. All members of the public are invited.

ENDS

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