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Save Happy Valley members in court

Media Release

Save Happy Valley members in court.

Three members of the Save Happy Valley Coalition have returned from the indefinite occupation of the planned Cypress mine site on the West Coast in order to defend themselves on charges relating to the coal train blockade in August 2005. The blockade held up four trains for five hours and Solid Energy claimed it cost them $150 000 US in lost revenue.

Daniel Rae and Frances Mountier are due to appear this Friday at 10.00am in the District Court in Christchurch on charges of Trespass, Trespass under the Railways Act and Interfering with a Railway Track under the Crimes Acts. Raoni Hammer appears on Monday at 10.00am to defend a charge of Trespass.

"The protest was held to highlight how unacceptable Solid Energy's planned mine in the pristine Happy Valley is," said Frances Mountier. "The coal extracted from the 'Cypress' mine would release 12 million tonnes of climate changing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere."

"The real crime is Solid Energy's environmentally destructive mining practices. The Happy Valley mine will destroy prime Kiwi habitat, pollute local waterways and irreversibly devastate the local landscape," said Daniel Rae.

"Solid Energy has a shocking record of waterway contamination. Acid mine drainage and sediment pollution have made local rivers unsafe for drinking and many recreational uses," said Raoni Hammer.

The Happy Valley Coalition has been occupying the planned mine site for almost two weeks and are committed to taking further direct action, like the train blockade, in order to halt the mine. At the same time a public campaign has been launched to force the Labour Government to step in and bring its State Owned Enterprise under control and stop the Cypress mine.

A Save Happy Valley demonstration will take place from 9.30am on Friday and Monday outside the court house.


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