Wednesday, September 15, 2010
A 5:30 start got me to Gore on time for the Chamber of Commerce 'Solid Energy' breakfast. Coal was on the menu, and diesel, urea and all sorts of other energy-rich substances.
S.E. man Greg had a slick patter and the Chamber-ites lapped it up, promising as it did, enormous profit and prosperity to them.
No mention at all was made of the environment, nor was there reference to the taxpayer and the burden he and she will have to shoulder through the ETS and the subsidies the Government has promised to Solid Energy as a helping hand.
Questions about rumours that the topsoil removed in order to begin scraping out the open cast mine were denied by Mr Solid, who explained that the landscape would be rehabilitated. Curiously, he negated that claim while answering the next question about the lake that SE have promised to leave behind in place of the removed lignite. The unspoken question left hanging in the air was 'Where in a lake do you deploy topsoil?'
I was very taken by their phrase 'Stairway to prosperity', used to decribe the incremental way they are planning to develop first the 'acceptable', 'safe' developments, then build upon the success/acceptance of those.
The present phase is clearly 'building a happy picture for the people of Mataura, Gore, Southland" (in that order). Today's meet the burghers was clearly a step in that direction, as was the front page article in today's Times headed "$377 m a year from lignite"