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Chch Group Opposes Environmental Destruction

MEDIA RELEASE

Christchurch Group,

Save Happy Valley Campaign

Thursday 26th May, 11:15pm

For immediate release.

Chch Group Opposes Environmental Destruction

The Environment Court has today permitted Solid Energy to go ahead and develop an open cast mine in Happy Valley, West Coast. This is despite the fact that the area is ecologically highly significant and home to a number of threatened species; it belittles concerns about the major crisis that climate change will cause and it highlights how the government’s commitments to the environment are a farce.

In Christchurch, members of the nation-wide Save Happy Valley Campaign are disgusted at the result. Frances Mountier, a spokesperson for the Christchurch group, said “Most people would be shocked to hear that their taxpaying dollars are going towards a State Owned Enterprise conducting open-cast coal mining in pristine kiwi habitat in the 21st century. However, this is exactly what Solid Energy has been granted resource consent to carry out in the ecologically significant area of Happy Valley north of Westport.”

Solid Energy is a company that recently itself admitted that it has an atrocious environmental record and has polluted rivers, destroyed indigenous fauna habit and showed scant regard for the concerns of local communities on the west coast. Their headquarters are located in Christchurch.

Despite the Labour Government recently signing the Kyoto Protocol, they are now “hopelessly compromised and hypocritical in their stance towards coal mining in New Zealand. It is important that we make the direct connection between new coal mines here in Aotearoa and the suffering and destruction wrought by climate change to communities and the environment around the world, as well as its long-term catastrophic consequences. The state is supposed to protect habitat so why is it callously allowing a State Owned Enterprise to ruthlessly exploit the environment?

“Now that it is certain that initial preparations for the mine will begin, we – and other environmental groups - will be stepping-up our campaign of civil disobedience directed at Solid Energy.”

THE SAVE HAPPY VALLEY CAMPAIGN

Save Happy Valley is a group of predominantly young people that are committed to taking direct action against this continual destruction of our natural environment. Formed originally on student campuses around the country, the aim is to prevent the new mine called “Cypress” from going ahead. So far the campaign has been characterized by creative actions like occupations of the proposed mine site and tree sits-ins. In Christchurch, people have chained themselves to the head offices of Solid Energy, and ‘kiwi’ have dug up their front lawn.

Ends

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