Fishing Competition at Risk from Coal Plant
Friday 3rd March 2006: As the biggest fishing competition in Australasia gets underway at Bream Bay, Whangarei, this weekend, Greenpeace warned the location could be under threat if the Marsden B coal-fired power station goes ahead.
For the first time, the ‘Beach and Boat’ competition will be held in Bream bay, bringing up to 20,000 people to the area for the weekend.
“If Marsden B goes ahead, the toxic pollution from this plant could well drive this competition to another location,” said Greenpeace campaigner Vanessa Atkinson.
Mighty River Power applied to the Northland council to pump mercury, along with other toxic compounds, into the Bream Bay environment. Mercury is known to build up in fish further up the food chain, especially fish like the local snapper which are popular in this competition. The plant would also discharge other heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium and highly toxic dioxins, along with millions of tonnes of climate change causing carbon dioxide.
“I can’t imagine recreational fishers being particularly happy catching fish contaminated with mercury,” said Atkinson.
She noted that Marsden B would add even more mercury into an environment where snapper already have levels at the upper safety limit for human health. “These toxins would increase across every level of the food chain,” said Atkinson.
Mighty River plans to use seawater to capture some of these pollutants from the ash - but wants to discharge it straight back into Bream Bay.
Greenpeace is demanding that Mighty River wakes up to the fact that coal’s toxic outputs and the need to address climate change means that coal has no future. The Government must also take responsibility for this toxic, climate-changing coal project and halt it as part of establishing a long-term sustainable energy strategy encouraging renewable energy such as wind farms for New Zealand.
The project which was given resource consent last year has been appealed by concerned community groups and Greenpeace. However Mighty River has asked the Environment Court to put the case on the “hold” track until the end of May while it seeks consent to access Department of Conservation land necessary for the project.