Author: tjonescan

The Mt William North Hearings: Ignorance, Intimidation, and Elephants

Sharon McGarry thinks carbon dioxide makes holes in the ozone layer. No, not a year nine science student but a commissioner; one of three in Westport recently entrusted with the task of unravelling the scientific and economic data pertinent to the next mountaintop removal on the Stockton Plateau –Mt William North. The realisation that Ms McGarry did not have even a basic grasp of the science behind climate change was a shock, but the whole experience of submitting at this council hearing was a series of curious events. I was at the Westport Bridge Club to speak to my submission opposing Solid Energy’s proposal to mine 5.4 million tonnes of new coal at Mt William. If mined, this coal will send approximately 13 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, widen even more the gap between reality and our international emissions obligations, further shred our clean green image, and destroy more endangered flora and fauna on the plateau. Less than two weeks before the hearing submitters received a letter telling us that, due to the recent Environment Court declaration, the commissioners were “not able to have regard to any evidence or submissions concerning the effects on climate change of discharges into air arising from the subsequent burning of coal.” Yes, that’s right, our supreme environmental statute, the RMA, is legally unable to consider the greatest environmental threat facing humanity;...

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The Economic Wellbeing Of Coal Mining Communities

One of the ways the mining industry tries to win over local communities is by promising wealth and jobs. In fact, coal mining makes communities poorer, not richer. At the Community Day of the Keep the Coal in the Hole Summer Festival in Southland in January 2012, Jeanette Fitzsimons presented research that demonstrates this. Just look at all the red figures on this slide (click on the image to see the full-size version): Not exactly an economic bonanza, is it? You can see all the Community Day presentations from the Summer Festival, including the rest of Jeanette’s presentation, on our...

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Wellington Puts A Freeze On Coal Mining

Around 50 members of CANA, Forest and Bird, Ora Taiao,, Generation Zero and the Aotearoa Is Not For Sale Hikoi came together in Midland Park, Lambton Quay, Wellington on Tuesday 8 May to call for the Government to put a freeze on coal. The event was part of the “Say No To Coal Mining Day” of the Aotearoa Is Not For Sale Hikoi. While many people froze in place for three minutes – harder than it sounds, I can assure you – other handed out leaflets and got petition signatures and CANA signups. Several media outlets sent teams along, and Tim Jones from CANA and Kevin Hackwell from Forest and Bird were interviewed by TV3. There are photos of the event below (with acknowledgements to Forest & Bird). Other coverage is here: TV3 coverage: New Zealand Herald: Otago Daily Times: Joint press release from Forest & Bird and CANA:...

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Media Release from Auckland Coal Action: Environment Court ruling sounds death knell for climate

Environment Court ruling sounds death knell for climate All New Zealanders should be concerned that the effects of coal on climate change cannot be considered under the Resource Management Act. The just released Environment Court decision means that here is now no legislation protecting New Zealanders from dangerous coal mines like Bathurst Resources’ Escarpment Mine Project, near Denniston on the West Coast. “When it comes to climate change, our Government is failing us, our primary industry focussed economy is failing us and now our legislature is failing us,” says Auckland Coal Action spokesperson Nick Pak. The proposed mine, for six million tonnes of coal, is the thin end of Bathurst’s wedge for extracting over one hundred million tonnes of coal from the plateau. Mining coal will lead inevitably to intensified greenhouse gas emissions which increases the risk of catastrophic climate change, says Mr Pak. Besides the huge risks posed by climate change to biodiversity and landscapes globally, mining itself can have those effects locally. Prime Minister John Key announced recently that the access agreement to the Denniston Plateau would be publicly notified, then claimed afterwards that he had made a mistake. There will be no opportunity for the 50,000 Kiwis who marched up Queen Street for greater protection of conservation land to have their say over Denniston, according to Mr Pak. The defence’s counsel, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, was Minister...

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Let’s Put A Freeze on Coal Mining: Wellington, Tuesday 8 May

Let’s Put A Freeze on Coal Mining You are invited to help put a freeze on coal mining in New Zealand by attending a flash freeze in Wellington’s Midland Park on Tuesday May 8th, starting at noon. (Midland Park is on Lambton Quay between Waring Taylor Street and Johnston Street.) This event forms part of the “Say No to Coal Mining” day of the Aotearoa Is Not For Sale Hikoi. Here’s the plan: 12.00: Gather in Midland Park. Feel free to bring signs such as “Put a freeze on coal mining”, “Say no to coal mining” or “Keep the coal in the hole”. We’ll need some people to do leafletting – please come over to the stall for leaflets. We’ll also be aiming to sign up people to the Coal Action Network Aotearoa mailing list, and Forest and Bird representatives will also be taking part, focusing on the campaign against the planned Denniston coalmine. 12.15: Spread out! 12:20: Listen for the mighty blast on a saxophone that signals the start of the Freeze. Then, freeze for three minutes. The leafletters will keep moving, explaining to people that we are frozen as a call to Government to put a freeze on coal mining in New Zealand. After three minutes the trombone will play again, signalling that it is time to start moving. After that, we’ll all spread out, leaflet, and...

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