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Indefinite Occupation of Happy Valley begins

29/01/06

Indefinite Occupation of Happy Valley begins

Over 75 people began the indefinite occupation of Happy Valley on Saturday 28th January. Happy Valley, 25km northeast of Westport, is the site of SOE Solid Energy’s planned opencast coal mine. Members of the Save Happy Valley Coalition were joined from supporters from as far afield as Auckland and Dunedin as well as many from the West Coast.

"We are overwhelmed by the response and numbers we have had. Opposition to this mine has continued to grow as more and more New Zealanders have found out about this travesty of environmental justice," said Frances Mountier, Save Happy Valley Coalition spokesperson.

"This occupation is part of a wider strategy of non-violent direct action and public awareness to stop this mine now that the legal process has proven to be a farce. We expect the Government to step in and bring its State Owned Enterprise under control."

"Solid Energy seems to think that a well-oiled public relations campaign can compensate for the destruction of pristine kiwi habitat and global climate chaos." The mine will destroy the habitat of thirteen threatened species, including great spotted kiwi and the land snail Powelliphanta "patrickensis," pollute rivers by acid mine drainage and release twelve million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

ENDS

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