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Marsden B ruling shows urgent need for Bill

16 July 2006

Marsden B ruling shows urgent need for Bill

An Environment Court decision that quashes Greenpeace's appeal against the polluting coal-fired Marsden B power plant highlights the need for the adoption of the Green Party's Resource Management (Climate Protection) Amendment Bill, Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

Greenpeace's appeal against the Northland Regional Council and the Whangarei District Council's approval of the Marsden B project was rejected on the grounds that local authorities can no longer take into account the effects on climate change of discharges into the air of greenhouse gases.

It is estimated that the Marsden B project will emit between 1.8 million to 2.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

"This decision highlights that a huge hole has been left in our legislation. The 2004 amendments were made in anticipation that a carbon tax would be introduced. Now that tax has been dumped, projects like Marsden B can just go ahead without any consideration of their damaging effects.

"My climate protection amendment Bill will address these problems by repealing those sections of the Resource Management (Energy and Climate Change) Amendment Act which prevent the consideration of climate change in the granting of air discharge consents and the formulation of regional plans.

"Judge Laurie Newhook has clearly confirmed that local government has no responsibility for placing regulation about the discharge into air of greenhouse gases and it is instead the role of national government. However, at this point there is nothing in place to do this. Government must now move quickly to plug this gap.

"The ability of consent authorities to consider climate change ought to be in place at least until a national instrument is well established and is shown to be effective," Ms Fitzsimons says.


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