Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (Kasm) is gearing up for a second, bigger fight against Trans-Tasman Resources (TTR) to prevent seabed mining off the coast of Taranaki.
Kasm spokesperson Phil McCabe says the community-based action group will need to fundraise about $50,000 to ensure it can put up a good fight.
“We have to stand up stronger than last time or they walk away with it.
“We have got to stay vigilant with it. If we go half-arsed into another battle we will lose it.”
TTR has a mining permit for approximately 65 square kilometres of the South Taranaki Bight and it intends to reapply to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) for resource consent to extract iron sand from the area.
In 2014, the Environment Protection Agency rejected TTR’s application for consent, a decision that Kasm fought hard for, and TTR subsequently withdrew its appeal.
Mr McCabe says Kasm spent about $35,000 fighting the previous application, with “some very kind rates” from lawyers, experts and scientists.
In June, Kasm will hold its first fundraising venture for the second round against TTR. A garage sale will be held at 16 Gilmour St, in Raglan, and members of the community have been asked to donate items for the sale.
Mr McCabe says TTR has yet to lodge its application, and he had initially been told it would happen by mid-February, then by mid-March and then by mid-April, but “we have to be ready”.
“They seem to be dragging their heels a bit,” he says, wary that TTR may be waiting for a change in legislation that would allow the Environment Minister to appoint decision-makers, rather than the EPA.
Submissions on the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill, which proposes an appointment of boards of inquiry by the minister not the EPA, closed on March 14.
“Obviously they can try and make it look unbiased,” he says regarding a government-appointed board, “but invariably this government wants to see seabed mining; it is a bit scary, they can do it for sure.”
Mr McCabe says TTR’s new application will be exactly the same as the old one but with some different computer modelling done and an outcome that will show more jobs and more money for people.
“They have to balance out the negative environmental impacts with positive economic outcomes.
“They will show that the impacts will be less and the benefits will be more, but it is inherently the same proposal.”
Mr McCabe says once the application has been lodged “we will be campaigning pretty hard out” to raise awareness of the impacts of seabed mining, encouraging people to make submissions against TTR’s proposal, and continuing fundraising for the legal and scientific costs of the hearing.
* The KASM garage sale will be held on June 5 at 16 Gilmour St. Donated items for the sale can be dropped off in the week before the sale. If anyone is able to help KASM with legal assistance or any other means in the fight against seabed mining, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.