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Seabed mining appeal in Wellington High Court, Monday

Forest & Bird will be appearing in a four day hearing starting Monday 16 April, to appeal a controversial Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) decision to allow seabed mining in the habitat of critically endangered blue whales.

The EPA granted consent for Trans Tasman Resources Limited (TTR) to mine iron sand in the South Taranaki Bight, in August last year.

The area is home to more than 30 species of marine mammals, including some that are critically endangered, including blue whales and Māui’s dolphins.

It is an important migratory corridor for humpback whales, and little blue penguins use the area. The Patea Shoals, an important reef system with high biodiversity values, are also closer to shore.

Forest & Bird’s Chief Executive Kevin Hague says, “The EEZ Act recognises that seabed mining could have significant impacts on the marine environment, and requires protection from such impacts.

“We think the EPA’s decision to grant consent fails to protect the environment, and doesn’t meet the requirements of the EEZ Act.”

Forest & Bird’s legal team will be arguing that the EPA panel misunderstood their obligation to protect the environment, confusing it with obligation to avoid, remedy, or mitigate adverse effects on the environment.

Forest & Bird’s main submission will be made on Tuesday, but their legal team will be present throughout the four days of proceedings.

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