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Solid Energy misleads media over costs

Solid Energy misleads media over costs sought from Save Happy Valley activists.

Save Happy Valley Coalition have released the letter in which Solid Energy requests reparations of US$150,000 from two members of the group. Solid Energy claimed yesterday that it did not seek this fee. But the letter included in the disclosure seems to imply that they did. The sum also appears on the activists' reparation schedule.

Daniel Rae and Frances Mountier, of the Save Happy Valley Coalition, appeared in the Christchurch District Court on Friday facing charges relating to the blockade of coal trains in August 2005. The Save Happy Valley Coalition is opposed to the planned Cypress mine in the pristine Happy Valley on the West Coast. "Our understanding, and our legal advice, is that Solid Energy's letter means they are seeking reparations of US$150,000," said Frances Mountier, Save Happy Valley Coalition spokesperson. "This is a ridiculous amount of money, and we believe it is intended to intimidate public oppostion to the Happy Valley mine." "A Solid Energy media release claims it did not seek this excessive sum of money, yet the figure now appears on the reparation schedule that will be placed before the court. If this was a mistake, we would welcome Solid Energy dropping the figure. They should never have made the claim in the first place. But more importantly, they should not proceed with a mine that will destroy kiwi habitat and contribute to climate change," said Frances Mountier. [The attached letter (pdf below) was included in the full disclosure given to Daniel Rae and Frances Mountier's lawyer. Refer especially to paragraph 4].


The Save Happy Valley Coalition is a collection of groups and individuals from around Aotearoa committed to stopping Solid Energy's proposed open-cast coal mine in Happy Valley (Upper Waimangaroa Valley) on the West Coast. The coalition is made up of West Coast locals, students, workers and the general public. The group has a track record of creative protests, occupations and lock-ons, as well as producing a variety of informative media. More information about the coalition and its history can be found at http://www.savehappyvalley.org.nz/aboutus.htm

The proposed mine will destroy the habitat of thirteen endangered species. It will also pollute local waterways through acid mine drainage, and, when burnt, the coal will contribute twelve million tonnes of climate changing carbon dioxide to the atmosphere when the coal is burnt. The five million tonnes of coal is all destined for export, mostly to steel-making industries in Japan and China.

  • Reparations Solid Energy Letter (pdf)
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