Forest & Bird fighting council on coal exploration

Forest & Bird is heading to court to try to stop a new coal mine near Nightcaps.

In a statement released yesterday, the environmental group said it was taking the Southland District Council to court over coal exploration expansion.

It is seeking a judicial review of its decision to allow Bathurst Resources Ltd to explore for a new coal mine on council land near Nightcaps.

The land is in the council’s Ohai forestry block. The company already holds an exploration permit for land.

If coal is found, it could add three years to the life of the Takitimu Coal Mine near Nightcaps.

Forest & Bird chief executive Kevin Hague said to have a safe climate there cannot be any new coal mines.

"The International Energy Agency has called for an immediate end to new coal mines and the UN Secretary-general has said all planned coal projects should be cancelled. We need to act now," he said.

Forest & Bird Youth leaders have provided affidavits in support of the case, including 17-year-old George Hobson and Nightcaps local Gemma Marnane.

"Having grown up in Southland, I know youth in my community are fearful of the impacts of the climate and biodiversity crisis," Ms Marnane said.

"It’s our future, and the future of coming generations, that will be the most impacted by the effects of the climate and biodiversity crises. Our elected decision-makers need to step up and tackle these threats head on."

Forest & Bird’s case claims the Southland District Council made the decision unlawfully because it failed to properly consider the implications of climate change, and the impact climate change would have on the district, including for future generations.

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