Solid Energy seeks to silence opposition

Published: Sun 17 Dec 2006 01:31 PM
Solid Energy seeks to silence opposition
Press release: Save Happy Valley Coalition Incorporated
The Save Happy Valley Coalition Incorporated will vigorously defend Solid Energy's threat to seek costs of many hundreds of thousands of dollars in the Environment Court.
"This is clearly a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP), a well known tactic aimed at shutting down any kind of environmental opposition," said Frances Mountier, spokesperson for the Save Happy Valley Coalition Incorporated.
"In the Happy Valley (Cypress) Environment Court case, Solid Energy unsuccessfully sought almost $400,000 in costs from Forest and Bird. When activists blocked a coal train in 2005, Solid Energy initially sought a ridiculous $200,000 in reparations. During the native forests campaign of the 1990s another state-owned enterprise, Timberlands West Coast, regularly threatened environmentalists with lawsuits. These cases are intimidation, pure and simple.
"In this case, the Court acknowledged that Solid Energy's proposed mining is noxious, dangerous, offensive or objectionable; that our concerns were valid and realistic; and that there is a high level of public interest. We'll defend any costs application on this basis," said Ms Mountier.

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