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West Coast group appeals coal consents

West Coast group appeals coal consents

West Coast Environment Network filed an appeal with the Environment Court today, challenging resource consents for an opencast coal mine which would destroy 200 hectares of high-value conservation land.

“Fifty thousand New Zealanders marched down Queen Street last year against mining of public conservation estate. Does the Government think this is what people wanted? This mine would involve digging up a rare landscape and habitat for threatened species – owned by the people of New Zealand," says West Coast Environment Network spokesperson Karen Mayhew.

“This mine would more than double New Zealand's coal exports. Once the coal is dug up, the release of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere is guaranteed. Given the scientific consensus on climate change and its impacts, we consider that this issue should have been considered properly by the resource consent commissioners”

Australian company Bathurst Resources was granted the consents last month for an opencast mine on the Denniston Plateau near Westport. The company has plans to mine much of the Plateau, and these resource consents were the first authorisations they have for their planned Escarpment Mine.

West Coast Environment Network's appeal is on ecological, climate and economic grounds. The group hopes to have Dr James Hansen, NASA's most eminent climate scientist, appear before the court via videoconference.

ENDS

More information on the Escarpment Mine Proposal is available in a summary prepared by West Coast Entvironment Network. This is available on the blog of Coal Action Network Aotearoa, at http://coalactionnetworkaotearoa.wordpress.com/

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