Council refrains from supporting motion to back oil and gas
February 12, 2014
Council refrains from supporting motion to back oil and gas exploration in principle
The Otago Regional Council (ORC) has adopted a neutral stance about the desirability or otherwise of deepsea drilling exploration occurring for oil and gas off the Otago coast.
Council today voted against a motion put by Cr Gerry Eckhoff that ORC support in principle the deepsea drilling exploration occurring for oil and gas off the Otago coast.
Councillors had received legal advice that passing the motion would compromise their ability to carry out their responsibilities under the RMA and the Local Government Act.
ORC chairman Stephen Woodhead commented that as these activities were outside the 12-mile limit, they were beyond the regional council’s control. The permits for exploration are governed by national legislation. ORC has no jurisdiction over such activities.
Cr Woodhead said the council was however charged under the RMA with balancing the management of natural resources with economic, social and environmental parameters.
“We may be required to consider consent applications for shore-based infrastructure associated with the project should it progress.”
“In order to do this council had no other choice than to remain impartial and could not on legal terms consider Cr Eckhoff’s proposal,’’ Cr Woodhead said.