Wellington, Dec 19 NZPA - The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by Greenpeace against a Court of Appeal ruling that local authorities cannot consider the climate change impact of fossil-fuelled power stations when Resource Management Act (RMA) consents are heard.
Greenpeace went to court over the interpretation of the section of the RMA that prohibits consent authorities from considering the effect of greenhouse gas emissions on climate change in discharge and coastal permit applications, unless renewable energy is involved.
The Supreme Court said in its declaration today the Court of Appeal had been correct to interpret the exception as applying only to applications involving renewable energy.
Greenpeace won the original High Court ruling that climate change could be considered in RMA consents for fossil-fuelled stations but it was overturned by the Court of Appeal in December last year.
"This is very bad news for the climate, particularly because it comes on top of the Government's relentless backtrack on climate policy and aggressive promotion of coal and gas," Greenpeace campaign manager Carmen Gravatt said after the Supreme Court issued its decision.
"It puts New Zealand seriously out of step with the rest of the world.
"Climate science shows we're running out of time to avoid climate change, the stakes are getting higher and New Zealand is not doing its bit."
Greenpeace took its action over the consent process for Mighty River Power's plans to convert the Marsden B power station in Northland to run on coal.
After the High Court ruling, Mighty River Power abandoned its plans for the conversion.
Genesis Power then began legal moves the reverse the High Court decision because it wants resource consent for its planned gas-fired Rodney generators.
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