Labour lignite policy a big step in the right direction

Published: Sun 6 Nov 2011 08:54 PM
Press release
Sunday 6 November 2011
Coal Action Network spokesperson Tim Jones says the group is pleased the Labour Party has decided to oppose plans to mine Southland lignite. In its newly-released environment policy, Labour says it will, if elected to Government, not allow Solid Energy to mine for lignite in Southland or convert lignite to liquid fuels.
"We view Labour's policy as a major step in the right direction," says Tim Jones. "Labour has clearly taken on board the message that mining up to six billion tonnes of lignite that lies beneath prime Southland farmland will lead to many billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and also devastate the land, rivers, and air of Southland."
Labour joins the Green Party and the Mana Party in announcing policy opposed to the expansion of coal mining in general and lignite mining in particular.
"Unlike the National Government, Labour, the Greens and Mana understands that New Zealand's international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would be completely undermined by a future in which we make our economy more, not less, dependent on fossil fuels," Tim Jones continued.
But the Coal Action Network Aotearoa is sounding a note of caution about Labour's policy. "Although stopping Solid Energy in its tracks would be a major achievement, private companies, such as L Mining, are also sniffing around the Southland lignite reserves. If these companies simply step in and take Solid Energy's place, neither the climate nor the Southland environment will be any better off."
"That's why we are calling for a total ban on new coal mining, including lignite mining in Southland, as the first step towards phasing out the use of coal altogether," Tim Jones concluded.
Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CAN Aotearoa) is a group of climate justice campaigners committed to fighting the continuation of coal mining in Aotearoa New Zealand.
CAN Aotearoa's objectives are to:
1. Phase out coal mining and coal usage within 20 years, initially by opposing new and expanded coal mines.
2. Promote a cultural change so that mining and using coal are unacceptable.
3. Work towards a society where people and the environment are not exploited for profit.
4. Work towards a socially just transition to a coal-free Aotearoa New Zealand.
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