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Happy Valley Occupation Celebrates Two Years

Happy Valley Occupation Celebrates Two Years

Press Release: Save Happy Valley Coalition

31st January 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE USEThe Save Happy Valley Coalition is celebrating two years of occupying Happy Valley this weekend with a gathering of members and supporters in the Valley. Meanwhile, Walk the Walk, which set off from Auckland on Monday, continues to travel South across the North Island on a climate-change conscious journey to Happy Valley, yesterday reaching the town of Bombay.

"At two years, this is the longest running environmental occupation in New Zealand," said Alan Liefting, a Save Happy Valley Coalition spokesperson. He expects to be joined by 50 people in the Valley for the celebrations this weekend. "The occupation continues, and the campaign to save this stunning ecological area has gone from strength to strength."

"Just this week, concerned New Zealanders began a momentous journey – Walk the Walk – from Auckland on foot to Happy Valley, raising awareness on the need to address climate change. A mine in Happy Valley would simply exacerbate carbon dioxide emissions and so it must be stopped."

"Solid Energy's conduct over these two years has been atrocious. They've ignored an environment court and scientists' concern for an endangered species, placed a spy in our group, purchased a biodiesel plant in order to greenwash the public, they're refusing to listen to reason. It is clear that if Solid Energy can destroy the environment for profit, they will."

Members of the public are warmly invited to join the celebrations by visiting http://www.savehappyvalley.org.nz/node/321


ENDS

Notes

The occupation began on 28th January 2006 in order to directly defend Happy Valley from Solid Energy's planned Cypress coal mine. The SOE originally stated they would begin work in February or March 2006. The valley has been totally protected by the efforts of the Save Happy Valley Coalition and other groups and individuals over the ensuing two years.

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. They work to raise awareness on climate change in New Zealand. They are also deeply concerned about the fate of all endangered species under threat from Solid Energy, including Powelliphanta "Augustus" at the nearby Stockton mine. The Coalition is made up of West Coast locals, students, workers and the general public. The group has a track record of creative protests and lock-ons as well as producing a variety of informative media. They have been occupying Happy Valley since 28th January 2006. More information about the coalition and its history can be found at http://www.savehappyvalley.org.nz/aboutus.htm

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