Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


No ‘thumbs up’ to fracking from Parliamentary Commissioner


No ‘thumbs up’ to fracking from Parliamentary Commissioner

Mon, Nov 26 2012


The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, today released an interim report on her inquiry into the appropriateness of fracking in New Zealand.

In short, no ‘thumbs up’ … rather official skepticism, and clear identification of critical issues that require deeper investigation before the practice is further rolled out. Here is the full report.

And here’s a cogent and measured response from Don’t Frack The Bay spokesperson, Pauline Elliott:

“Lobby group Don’t Frack the Bay welcomes the interim report on fracking issued today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Environment, Dr Jan Wright.

Spokesperson, Pauline Elliott, says Dr Wright’s findings echo many of the concerns raised by this group more than 18 months ago. “Given the seriousness of issues raised in her report, it is surprising that a call for a moratorium has not been made, at least until the significant regulatory concerns can be addressed”.

The interim report highlights the lack of any oversight by central government; the lack of a sound, cohesive regulatory framework; the “labyrinthine” roles of central and local government agencies, and their fragmented approach; and the ‘light handed’ approach to a high risk industry. These issues will be the subject of further investigation and recommendations.

Dr Wright states she “cannot be confident that operational best practices are actually being implemented and enforced through regulation”. While acknowledging the current government is hoping for an economic future built on oil and gas, she questions “whether the same effort is being put into preparing for the impacts it may have”.

“The social, cultural and health effects must also be fully considered before fracking is more widely used” says Ms Elliott. “These are impacts that have not yet been considered, and were not the focus of this report.”

Dr Wright has identified “choosing where to drill” as a key element in protecting the environment.

Stating that almost all fracking to date has been in Taranaki, she cautions that generalising from the Taranaki experience is of little or limited value. The report emphasises that the geology and hydrogeology of the East Coast is vastly different to that of Taranaki.

“Don’t Frack the Bay has long voiced concern that the complex, intricate geology of Hawke’s Bay is a major concern. The region is not suited to hydraulic fracturing” says Ms Elliott. “In addition, unlike Taranaki, this region suffers periods of drought. There is a crucial question as to where the significant volumes of water required for fracking will come from. There can be no comparison with Taranaki as a model for development” says Ms Elliott.

Ms Elliott says the Commissioner is to be commended on exploring the multiplicity of issues that have been the subject of such wide debate. “It is, however, disappointing to see so many significant questions raised with no call for a pause in proceedings, at least until the major concerns around regulation, monitoring, and enforcement, have been addressed”, she says.

Dr Wright’s call for the industry and government to ‘earn a social licence’ through greater transparency and public engagement is commendable. “What is needed,” Dr Wright stresses, “is trust that government oversight is occurring, and that regulation is enforced, and seen to be so.”

“We are experts at shutting the gate after the horse has bolted”, says Ms Elliott. “Given Pike River; leaky homes; failed finance markets; and escalating workplace injuries and fatalities, there is little public confidence that government or its agencies can provide the level of monitoring and enforcement required to protect against failures in the gas and oil mining industry.”

I think Pauline has nailed it.

Adds Regional Councillor Liz Remmerswaal:

“Dr Wright says government regulations are not up to standard, and that comparing Hawke’s Bay to Taranaki are inappropriate. I hope this report and the one that follows means that council will wake up to stop a blind rush to making us a ‘Texas of the South’.” Councillor Remmerswaal says there is more at stake than just the possible money and jobs dreamed about in the upcoming government/council economic report, due in December on the oil industry in Hawke’s Bay. “What is the hurry to rush this process which may have such dubious results? The oil isn’t going anywhere, is it?”

More to come.

Tom Belford


Related Stories
Should the regulator be the developer?
CHB dam moves to next stage
Why the dam(n) hurry, Tim?


Email to a friendView commentsTrack comments


If you have something to say about this article, You can place a comment on the BayBuzz website

________________________________________

More Recent Articles
Please give 5 minutes to BayBuzz
Should the regulator be the developer?
More articles from Nov/Dec BayBuzz mag
No illicit sex in Hawke's Bay
Nov/Dec BayBuzz Now Online

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Greens: Oil Drilling Face-Off With Labour

The plan is the second component of the Party’s environmental priority this election: Rivers clean enough to swim in again, and beaches safe from oil spills.

The Green Party loves New Zealand and will create a cleaner environment where our beaches remain open for swimming, not closed for oil spills.

The key policy points in the Green Party’s plan to protect our beaches from oil spills are to:
1. Prohibit deep sea oil drilling;
2. Implement compulsory shipping lanes for coastal shipping;
3. Build Maritime New Zealand’s oil spill response capability; and
4. Introduce a stronger legal framework so that when accidents do happen, the New Zealand taxpayer does not have to pay for the clean-up. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Minister Told Of FBI Investigation, Says INZ: Coleman Must Quit Or Be Sacked Over Dotcom Case - Harré

Immigration New Zealand has done the right thing in distancing itself from Jonathan Coleman’s claims that ministers were not aware of FBI involvement in Kim Dotcom’s residency application, says the Internet Party. More>>

ALSO:

Valedictory Season: Maori Party Founders Say Goodbye

Two major Maori MPs gave there farewell speeches to Parliament Thursday outlining their history, experiences, triumphs and regrets. More>>

ALSO:

Resignation Not Accepted: Transport Minister Breaches Aviation Security Rules

"Running late for a plane at Christchurch Airport, I without thought breached airport and airline security rules by entering the gate lounge through a door usually used for exit only..." More>>

ALSO:

TAIC Report: Urgent Recommendations After Melling Rail Accident

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has made four urgent recommendations to KiwiRail following the accident two months ago (27 May) when a Matangi passenger train collided with a stop block at Melling Station, Lower Hutt. More>>

ALSO:

Red Tape: Local Regulations Go Under Microscope

The Government says it is accepting nearly all of the recommendations the Productivity Commission has made on ways to improve local regulations. More>>

ALSO:

Spending Questions: Claudette Hauiti To Step Aside At Election

National Party President Peter Goodfellow confirms that he has received notification from List MP Claudette Hauiti that she plans to step aside at the 20 September election. More>>

ALSO:

EPA: Board Of Inquiry Rejects Basin Flyover By Majority Of 3 To 1

The independent Board of Inquiry delegated to decide on the Basin Bridge Proposal has, by a majority decision (3 to 1), cancelled the Transport Agency’s Notice of Requirement and declined its resource consent applications for the construction, operation and maintenance of a flyover on State Highway 1 in Wellington City... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news