5 Feb 2004

An appeal likely in Cook Islands against work getting go-ahead to remove contaminated soil

8:03 am on 5 February 2004

The Cook Islands high court has rejected an application for an injunction to stop work to remove contaminated soil from Titikaveka college.

This means that the work will continue in the digging up of the soil at Titikaveka and dumping it further away, at Papua.

Travis Moore, a representative for the Ranginui family trust and Mata Uri who own the land where the contaminated soil is now being deposited, says they may appeal the decision.

He says the court relied heavily on the expert advice sought by the Environment Service.

But, Mr Moore believes that was compromised and a different story emerged after he talked to the scientist, Dr Ian Jenkins.

"He informed me that he was not engaged at all by the government of the Cook Islands or the Environment Service of the Cook Islands. That his advice was limited exclusively to how to handle this contaminated soil where it was and that he had given absolutely no advice on moving the soil to any other site, completely contrary to the report the Environment service put out as to what he had advised."

Travis Moore says the chemicals in the contaminated soil are likely to leach into the stream at Papua so the problem is not being solved.