Catherine Delahunty

Biodiversity hotspot Denniston now open for coal mining

by Catherine Delahunty

Last week, the Environment Court ruled against Forest and Bird’s plea to stop Bathurst’s open cast coal mine on the breathtaking Denniston Plateau.

This week, Dr Leon Perrie of Te Papa wrote a blog post highlighting the Department of Conservation’s report that finds eight critical, endangered, or vulnerable species in the area.

These include a critically endangered fern and our native carnivorous snail, as well as lichens and liverworts. This amazing variety of life makes the Denniston Plateau a biodiversity ‘hot spot’.

 Rod Morris

Photo credit: Rod Morris

These eight amazing native species are special to the Denniston Plateau – we can’t find the same biodiversity anywhere else, and we can’t trade off their habitat for another one, as Conservation Minister Nick Smith signed off on as part of the deal. We need to protect these species and that means not mining the Plateau.

The Denniston case also highlights the need for Resource Management Act reform, to require applications under the Act to consider the impact of climate change. It’s deeply disappointing that  National spearheaded the mine and Labour is “happy” with the process and “respects” the outcome. If we want to get serious about keeping climate change to 2 degrees, then we simply have to stop digging up coal.

The Greens will continue to support the hard work of Forest & Bird and other local community organisations. We’re opposed to the mine both because it’s in a biodiversity hotspot that should be protected, and because we need to keep coal in the hole and move to renewable sources of energy.

The Denniston Plateau is irreplaceable. National’s dirty “drill it, mine it, sell it” ideology has no place in a biodiversity hotspot like Denniston.

Published in Environment & Resource Management by Catherine Delahunty on Tue, November 5th, 2013   

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