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Coal Action Network steps up anti-lignite mining campaign

Coal Action Network steps up anti-lignite mining campaign

Tuesday 15th February

The Coal Action Network is stepping up its campaign against plans to mine Southland lignite. Former Green Party leader and long-time climate campaigner Jeanette Fitzsimons will be telling a Coal Action Network public meeting in Wellington this week why we need to "keep the coal in the hole". The meeting will be held at St John's Church Hall at the corner of Willis and Dixon Streets on Wednesday the 16th, and starts at 7pm

"Mining Southland lignite would lead to a social and environmental disaster," said Coal Action Network spokesperson Frances Mountier. "In a recent report, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, said that there are at least 6 billion tonnes of economically recoverable lignite reserves in Southland. Using all this, as the mining companies intend, would lead to between 7 and 8 billion tonnes of Co2-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions."

"Even though those emissions won't all happen at once, the annual emissions once mining and processing was fully underway would mean a big jump in New Zealand's overall emissions. It would also lead to major air, noise and water pollution problems in Southland," said Ms Mountier.

"This will blow New Zealand's claim to be clean and green out of the water," Ms Mountier continued. "Solid Energy wants to set up a pilot plant to convert lignite into briquettes this year, and that's just the beginning as far as they are concerned. They are moving fast, and we need to move fast too."

Frances Mountier criticised the Government for its support for coal-mining. "Gerry Brownlee has gone on record as saying that coal is sexy," she says, "and the Government wants to mine everything it can lay its hands on. The Government should have learnt its lesson from the debate over mining in National Parks and precious conservation land. Some places are too precious to mine, and the best place for some minerals is safely underground. As Dr Wright concluded, the best thing to do with Southland lignite is leave it underground."

The Wellington public meeting will be followed by meetings in Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin as the campaign against lignite mining grows.

ENDS

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