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Greenpeace appeals Marsden B decision

Greenpeace appeals Marsden B decision

Auckland, Monday 17 October 2005: Greenpeace today lodged an appeal to the Environment Court over the decision by Commissioners acting for Northland councils to allow the coal station to go ahead.

"We think it is outrageous to allow the first New Zealand coal-fired power station in 25 years to go ahead at a time when scientists warn that the world has only 10 years to act to avoid a climate change disaster ," said Greenpeace climate campaigner, Vanessa Atkinson.

Greenpeace has put forward many grounds for appeal, including the Commissioners' failure to consider climate change and renewable energy, other effects of carbon dioxide on the environment and the threat to human health and the environment posed by mercury, sulphur and dioxin emissions.

The Greenpeace appeal claims that the Commissioners did not correctly interpret the Resource Management Act by ignoring climate change in their decision and that the Act does provide for this vital matter to be considered through the benefits of renewable energy development for reducing climate change emissions. Marsden B will shut out renewable energy sources, which otherwise would have lowered greenhouse pollution, so climate change is a relevant issue.

"Marsden B would never be approved in the US, Japan, Germany or Sweden because it is too dirty, according to Dr Phyllis Fox a world-renowned scientist with over 35 years of experience in environmental assessment of power plants. Greenpeace brought this evidence to the hearing but the Commissioners ignored this and other evidence of threats to the environment and human health, in making their decision," said Atkinson

"Mercury is one of the clearest examples of ignoring environmental concerns. Mighty River Power didn't even bother to find out how much mercury is in the Bream Bay through doing proper baseline studies. Yet it applied to add even more mercury to an environment where snapper already have mercury levels at the upper safety limit for human health consumption.

"Further, up to 7.8 tonnes of sulphur dioxide would be released per day, which again would bring air emissions to the upper levels of the national air quality guidelines, and which could exceed them depending on weather conditions.

"Marsden B would be a blight on New Zealand's clean green image, spewing toxins into the environment and adding further to climate change, which is ludicrous when there are clean, renewable alternatives like wind and solar and steps to get smarter with energy use so we get more out of using less," said Atkinson.

"New Zealand needs to address climate change and protect our environment and human health by developing a long term strategy encouraging renewable technology such as wind farms, stopping climate-polluting power sources such as Marsden B and increasing energy efficiency and conservation," concluded Atkinson.

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