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Happy Valley Activists in Court For Train Blockade


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Save Happy Valley "End of the Line for Coal" Activists in Court

Three Save Happy Valley activists will appear in the Christchurch District Court on Tuesday morning at 10am, in relation to the blockade of a coal train on Sunday 29th April. Members and supporters of the anti-coal mining group will hold a vigil in their support from 9:45am.

Simon Riddell and Gregory Curline will appear charged with "Interferes with rail line" while Anna-Claire Hunter will appear charged with "communicating with a prisoner" after allegedly passing a bottle of water to Riddell and Curline.

"Solid Energy have brought opposition upon themselves, through their atrocious environmental practices and their stated goal of increasing coal production rather than phasing it out," said Anna-Claire Hunter.

Revelations during May in the Sunday Star Times show that Solid Energy had indirectly hired an infiltrator into the environmental group, and were fully aware of the action. "The use of spies undermines the political debate on climate change, because the coal mining lobby uses their knowledge to manipulate that debate" said Simon Riddell.

"Climate change is a serious, global issue. Our response to it, and action to address its root causes must not be thwarted by the main emitters, such as coal mining companies," said Gregory Curline.

"The action held up coal trains on the Midland Line for 3.5hours, and was aimed to highlight that state owned coal miner Solid Energy is responsible for annual emissions equivalent to our entire domestic transport fleet," said Anna-Claire Hunter. Over thirty people swarmed a coal train, once it was stopped by Curline and Riddell locked to the tracks and a dozen others nearby.

The three have vowed to fight their charges, and the approximately $30,000 in reparations being sought by Toll NZ and the Fire Service from Curline and Riddell.

ENDS

*Notes* Save Happy Valley Christchurch is a member of the SHV Coalition - 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. We work to raise awareness on climate change in New Zealand. We are also deeply concerned about the fate of all endangered species under threat from Solid Energy. The Christchurch group has a track record of creative protests, lock-ons and stunts. The Coalition has occupied Happy Valley since January 2006 and produces a variety of informative media. More information about the Coalition and its history can be found at http://www.savehappyvalley.org.nz/aboutus.htm

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