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 for the Environment when the RMA was introduced.

The purpose of the RMA is to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources.

This ruling has now excluded the extraction of coal and the subsequent detrimental effects on the climate from that management

“If Kiwis value our idyllic way of life, then the time has come to walk upright – away from the destructive and failed environmental policies of the past and towards a socially just, ecologically sustainable future.”

For more information contact:
Auckland Coal Action spokesperson
Nick Pak
021 294 0150