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Cypress Mine a poisonous solution to energy crisis

15 April 2004
Cypress Mine a poisonous solution to energy 'crisis'

Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today congratulated the students occupying the site of the proposed Cypress mine on the West Coast for drawing the country's attention to the environmental costs of using coal to meet our spiralling energy demands.

The week-long protest is backing local opposition from groups such as Ngakawau Riverwatch, which today revealed that the West Coast Regional Council has been spending only $440 a year to monitor the damaging environmental effects of the neighbouring Stockton mine.

"In May the Resource Management Act (RMA) consents for the Cypress mine will be heard jointly by the Buller District and West Coast Regional Councils," said Ms Fitzsimons, the Green Party Spokesperson on both Energy and Conservation.

"We can only hope that the hearings panel does not have the 'growth-at-any-cost-and-damn-the-environment' attitude of their Mayor, Pat O'Dea, and will apply the RMA properly.

"The West Coast doesn't have to have an economy based on unsustainable digging and chopping. Tourism and plantation forestry alone offer a much more positive and prosperous future for the region.

"The purpose of ruining yet another conservation area and poisoning its surrounding water table is supposedly to meet energy demand that can actually be reduced by proper energy efficiency efforts and met with renewable sources.

"According to the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, New Zealand is already mining more coal than ever before, and yet, Post-Aqua, corporate energy planners claim that we must now dig up even more. Burning coal is the most efficient and fastest way to bring about disastrous climate change and cannot be seriously considered if New Zealand is to maintain its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol.

"For security of supply and a minimal environmental impact, New Zealand should be vigorously pursuing wind power. While the West Coast is currently not considered to be economic for wind, places such as Cape Foulwind will become viable as the industry grows and costs come down," said Ms Fitzsimons.


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