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WWF calls on Solid Energy to come clean on costs of mining

WWF calls on Solid Energy to come clean on costs of mining dirty coal

WWF is calling on Solid Energy to disclose figures it claims to hold analysing the total projected greenhouse gas emissions released if its proposal to convert the dirty coal lignite into liquid fuel goes ahead. The state owned enterprise recently refused WWF's request under the Official Information Act for the figures, claiming they are 'trade secrets'.

The call from WWF follows a report released today from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) recommending proposals to exploit lignite coal reserves in the South Island are dropped. Solid Energy has also refused the PCE's request for projected carbon emissions and their costs.

"Solid Energy has been making ambitious claims about the low environmental impact of its proposed lignite to diesel plant but is refusing to make public its figures. This is clearly unacceptable. Solid Energy is a state owned company and has a responsibility, not only to back up its claims with hard facts, but also to come clean with the public on how much pollution could be caused by its plans. This pollution will not be cost-free and it may be the tax-payer who has to pick up the tab. We are calling on Solid Energy to disclose the information in the public interest," said Peter Hardstaff, WWF-New Zealand Climate Change Campaigner.

WWF today wrote to the Ombudsman to lodge a complaint about Solid Energy's refusal to disclose the information under the Official Information Act, reiterating their request for the life-cycle analysis of the potential greenhouse gas emissions from Solid Energy's proposed lignite to liquid fuel plant.

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The figures would show the full greenhouse gases associated with the proposal - digging up the lignite, transporting it, turning it into liquid fuel, and burning it. WWF believes that the emissions associated with such an operation are a significant matter of public interest.

"Right now we have a choice in New Zealand - to move forward in developing cleaner, renewable, environmentally responsible fuels or take a step backwards by digging up dirty coal. This is a major issue that demands public scrutiny and debate, and if Solid Energy will not release the relevant information, it will be up to the shareholding Ministers Simon Power and Bill English to step in and make sure the company does the right thing," said WWF's Peter Hardstaff.

ENDS

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