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Marsden B will pollute forest and marine reserves

Marsden B will pollute forest and marine reserves

Acid rain and toxic waste from the proposed conversion of the Marsden B power station to coal could damage an important forest reserve and nearby marine ecosystem Forest and Bird is warning.

“Marsden B will produce 7.8 tonnes of sulphur dioxide per day. This will significantly add to pollution from the neighboring Oil Refinery, which already produces 12 tonnes of sulphur dioxide per day,” said conservation manager Kevin Hackwell.

“Bream Head Reserve is directly downwind of the Marsden B power station and will cop the worst of acid rain increase from the power station. This is hardly the image of clean green New Zealand that tourist leaflets like to portray,” he said.

“The reserve has large areas of coastal broadleaf forest and has had intensive predator control in recent years. Kiwi have been reintroduced to the area. Bellbirds and pacific and green geckos live there too. Kaka and kakariki also visit the reserve from the Hen and Chickens Islands,” he said.

“Bream Head is home to nationally endangered plants including a rare native broom, Cook’s scurvy grass and a rare kumarahou. Bream Head has more species of Hebe than any other part of Northland and the Far North,” he said.

“Scientists even recently found a new species of tree on Bream Head and nearby Mt Manaia. It hasn’t been named yet, but the entire world population grows there. They could easily be damaged by acid rain,” he said.

“Mighty River Power have applied to discharge 8,760 kg of arsenic; 4,208 kg of lead, 262 kg of cadmium and 192.7 kg of mercury into Bream Bay each year. Bream Bay and Whangarei has incredibly rich marine life. There are commercial fisheries of scallops and pipis. This is no place to discharge hazardous heavy metals,” he said.

Passenger Island Marine Reserve is near the Whangarei Harbour entrance. Kamo High School students have worked for 14 years to get this Marine Reserve and now Mighty River Power's plans could poison it,” he said.

“Pollution from the power station is likely to harm the fairy terns that nest at Bream Bay. There are only 100 fairy terns left. They are on the brink of extinction. Toxic waste is the last thing they need,” he said.

“Buller's shearwaters only nest on the Poor Knights Island and frequent Bream Bay. They too could he harmed by air pollution and poisoning of their food,” he said.

Note: Forest and Bird is supporting Greenpeace’s request to Environment Minister Marian Hobbs to call-in the proposal to convert the Marsden B power station to enable it to burn coal.

Under the Resource Management Act, the Environment Minister has the power to call-in resource consent applications. This enables controversial or difficult projects to be decided nationally. The Government has only done this twice before.

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