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Greenpeace is calling on the Government to rule out what it says is a massive polluting project proposed for Taranaki that will increase dirty energy dependency and increase production of “river-killing” urea.

The billion-dollar project proposes using hydrocarbon gas to make hydrogen and urea. The hydrogen would be used as an energy source, while the urea would be used as fertiliser on New Zealand’s farms and for export.

Greenpeace campaigner Steve Abel says if the project, known as ‘8 Rivers’ goes ahead, it would be disastrous for the climate and New Zealand’s rivers.

“It should really be called ‘Dead Rivers’, because it will destroy our waterways and  lock us more deeply into dependency on gas, a dirty and finite source of energy,” he says.

The use of synthetic nitrogen fertilisers have already caused the Earth’s safe nitrogen cycle boundary to be breached. This is one of nine planetary boundaries that if surpassed, threaten human survival. Greenpeace has just  launched a campaign calling for the Government ban all synthetic nitrogen fertiliser in New Zealand. Abel says urea is a double whammy for the climate and rivers.

“Urea is used to increase the number of cows, which in turn increases climate emissions and the pollution of our rivers,” he says.

“On top of that, the 8 Rivers project relies on an enormous supply of gas, which is both a dirty source of energy and is finite. We should be investing in energy systems that are based on sources that are clean and infinite, such as wind and solar.

“Instead of the two billion dollar price tag on the Dead Rivers project, Government and industry should be backing Greenpeace’s 500,000 solar homes proposal that would cost a total of $665 million over 20 years. Solar is what the Government and Regional Development Minister Shane Jones should be backing, not the polluting fuels of the past.”

Greenpeace is calling on the Government to rule out the 8 Rivers project and clarify that any investment in hydrogen technology should be for clean hydrogen made from renewable sources, and not dirty hydrogen made from fossil fuels.

Abel says the 8 Rivers project is a last ditch bid to save the oil and gas industry from the global transition to clean energy.

“This project alone can undo all the good that has been achieved for the climate in recent policy decisions such as stopping the search for new oil and gas,” he says.

ENDS