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Seabed Miner Quitting EPA Hearing Highlights Danger Of Luxon’s Fast-track

Greenpeace says wannabe Taranaki seabed miner Trans-Tasman Resources is likely banking on Christopher Luxon’s fast-track process to side-step proper scrutiny of its Taranaki seabed mining proposal by bailing out of the Environmental Protection Agency hearing process.

Australian-owned Trans-Tasman Resources (TTR) has pulled out of appearing before the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) hearing into the company’s controversial application to start seabed mining off the coast of Taranaki in the South Taranaki Bight. In a statement to the media, TTR says they will update the community and stakeholders "once the next steps on this nationally significant project are finalised."

Greenpeace Aotearoa spokesperson Juressa Lee (Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi, Rarotonga) says: "This may seem like a win, but unfortunately, it’s highly likely that TTR is now banking on the Luxon government’s fast-track approvals process to sidestep proper scrutiny."

"TTR has f aced constant opposition from mana whenua and environment groups and has never been able to show that mining can be done without causing lasting environmental damage in the South Taranaki Bight."

Earlier this month, TTR faced the first stage of the EPA hearings in Hāwera and was confronted by a strong and vocal show of opposition from iwi, environmental groups and Taranaki locals throughout.

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TTR has spent more than 10 years trying to get the go-ahead to mine 50 million tonnes of seabed in a 66 square kilometre area in the South Taranaki Bight every year for 35 years to access five million tonnes of iron ore and dump the rest back into the ocean.

In 2021, the Supreme Court dismissed TTR’s latest appeal to mine and stated that environmental protection is the bottom line.

"By bailing out of the EPA hearings, TTR is continuing to display its arrogant disregard for the justified concerns of mana whenua, the local community, environmental experts and advocates and any care and responsibility for marine life and biodiversity that will be harmed by digging up the seabed," says Lee.

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