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National Parks not coal mines

"National Parks not coal mines"*

Coal Action Network Press release 3/7/07

A newly formed anti-coal mining group protested today in Greymouth against the proposed Pike River Coal mine, as the TranzScenic train pulled into the station with delegates from the World Heritage Committee.

Coast Action Network held a banner in clear sight of the passengers, that read "National Park not coal – Stop the Pike River mine!". They are opposed to the Pike River Coal Company Ltd, which has already cut a 10km road through native forest and plans to mine underneath Paparoa National Park, in order to extract 17.6 million tonnes of coal over 20 years.

"Our natural heritage must be protected. A coal mine under a National Park is unacceptable," said Coal Action Network spokesperson, Alex Winter-Billington. "Chris Carter, our so-called Minister of Conservation, has already granted a permit for two-thirds of the coal mine; the access agreement for under the National Park is separate.

"Meanwhile, Pike River Coal Company Ltd are misleadingly claiming that their

mine is low impact. However, there are severe environmental risks involved including fire, subsidence, pollution of rivers with slurry water, acid mine

drainage, noise and amenity impacts on the local community."

"Fugitive methane emissions and 17.6m tonnes of coal will contribute millions more tonnes of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. This is not low impact."

"Shareholders would be contributing to the destruction of a pristine West Coast valley and putting the integrity of a National Park at risk. Pike River Coal must stop misleading potential investors, and the New Zealand Government must stop misleading the international community about their actual heritage policies on the ground," said Ms Winter-Billington.*

ENDS

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