NZ cement plant opposer demands details

NZ cement plant opposer demands details
Published: 05 December 2006

An opposition group has demanded the company wanting to build a cement plant at Weston immediately release details about its emissions. 
The Waiareka Valley Preservation Society wants Holcim (New Zealand) Ltd to make public the data on emissions from the proposed $200m plant. 
Dr Peter Rodwell, who was elected chairman at a meeting of the society on Sunday, yesterday said people should not have to wait for Holcim to provide the relevant data in its resource consent application, due to be filed early next year. 
"That is not consultation. If Holcim is serious about genuine consultation with the local community, they will take immediate step to provide substantive data now," he said. 
With $65 million spent by the North Otago Irrigation Company to bring fresh water to the valley, the future had changed significantly from the need for industry to intensive farming and horticulture. 
Any significant mercury and heavy metal contamination would destroy this future, Dr Rodwell said. 
In October, Holcim stated where there were no New Zealand standards available on air emissions of heavy metals, it would use the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Effects Screening Levels. 
However, in recent years scientific journals had said the TCEQ levels lacked scientific backing, obscured what concentrations of chemicals were safe and unsafe and allowed industry to release amounts of pollution that other areas in the United States considered unsafe. 
By committing to TCEQ standards, Holcim was setting the environmental bar very low, he said.
"It is important we understand that the plant Holcim is proposing was rejected by the state of New York in 2005 as posing an unacceptable risk," Dr Rodwell said.
The society will hold a public meeting at the Weston Hall at 7pm on Tuesday, December 12, to share with the community information the society had collected so far.