Environment Court Allows Open Cast Coal Mine
MEDIA RELEASE Save Happy Valley Campaign
Thursday 26th May,
The Environment Court has granted permission to state-owned coal company Solid Energy to go ahead with its proposed opencast coal mine at Happy Valley, near Westport. This is in despite of Solid Energy’s atrocious environmental record and the strong evidence for the environmentally devastating effects of the proposed mine.
The proposed coal mine will cause climate change, acid mine drainage, pollute rivers and the fragile wetland, cause loss of biodiversity and destroy the precious habitat of many threatened species, including the great spotted kiwi and the Powelliphanta “patrickensis” snails.
“We are totally against this mine, regardless of conditions,” said a spokesperson for the group, Jonathan Oosterman.
“We have absolutely no faith that Solid Energy will comply with the conditions set by the Environment Court, as minimal as they are. Solid Energy has repeatedly shown blatant disregard for the environment in the interest of making a quick buck.”
“This is just one more example of neoliberalism’s relentless drive for profit at the expense of people and the environment. Opposition to this mine must be seen as part of a growing global opposition to the destructive capitalist mindset.”
“It is important to see the direct connection between new coal mines here in Aotearoa and the suffering and destruction caused by climate change to communities and the environment around the world, as well as its long-term catastrophic consequences.”
“While the decision by the Environment Court to allow the mine to go ahead represents an end to legalistic avenues of opposition, it does not mean an end to this campaign. Instead, we will shift into a new phase of oppostion based around direct action at the mine site itself and against Solid Energy.”
Save Happy Valley Campaign: History The Save Happy Valley Campaign has been actively opposing the proposed coal mine at Happy Valley for over a year, organising two occupations of the proposed mine site, a series of public meetings around the country, a tree-sit and fast near Solid Energy’s Stockton mine, and two major protests at Solid Energy headquarters in Christchurch, the first a symbolic action with a digging up of their front lawn, the second a 26-hour lock-on protest and occupation. These actions have gained good media coverage and helped to build public awareness about the mine and to draw more people into the campaign.