Solid Energy tries to deflect attention
Solid Energy tries to deflect attention from court decision
The Save Happy Valley Coalition says Solid Energy's claim that a single predated snail disproves careful work by Department of Conservation experts is spurious and unscientific.
"Dr Elder is obviously desperate to deflect attention from the clear finding of the Environment Court that the mining of Mt Augustus is high risk and offensive, objectionable, noxious or dangerous," says Save Happy Valley Coalition spokeswoman Frances Mountier.
"While nobody denies that some snails are killed by predators, what the Department of Conservation said, and the Environment Court accepted, is that predation is low for this species. The court concluded that 'the present population does not seem to be currently subject to substantial loss by predation.'
"The Court went on to say that the snails face a much greater threat in the form of Solid Energy's bulldozers.
"Solid Energy are only able to threaten the snails with extinction because of a legal loophole and their assertions about environmentally responsibility simply do not stack up."
The Environment Court held:
 We carefully considered all of the evidence of
the witnesses regarding this matter. It is common ground
that the presently known habitat is confined as we have
identified and that the present population does not seem to
be currently subject to substantial loss by predation and
has not been subject to such predation for some years. We
note that there is no physical evidence of substantial
predation in the past and we query why there should be such
a sharply defined line between the areas where the snails
and where they do not ... We would have thought that if
predation was the principal cause for the snails' current
situation, it would be unlikely to find such an apparently
dense population within such a defined area. However, both
Mr Buckingham and
Dr McLennan acknowledged that there is in fact no physical evidence of predation either at present or in the past.