Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Green lobby cries foul on draft EEZ oil exploration rules

Green lobby cries foul on draft EEZ oil exploration rules

Dec. 13 (BusinessDesk) – The government is ploughing ahead with proposals that would continue to shield deep-sea oil explorers from public scrutiny of their plans to drill exploration wells in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

Environment Minister Amy Adams has released draft regulations governing the EEZ to replace the transitional arrangements which are currently in place, and which saw Texan oil and gas explorer Anadarko granted an exploration licence without requiring public notification or hearings.

The move has angered the Environmental Defence Society, which says Prime Minister John Key had indicated that the non-notifiable status of EEZ oil exploration activity was unlikely to be retained.

“We understood, following a meeting with the Prime Minister, that the Government was considering a different and more robust approach to these regulations,” said EDS chairman Gary Taylor in a statement.

“But the regulations are unchanged from what was originally proposed and give oil and gas exploration drilling an easy pathway to approval.

“There will be no notification of applications for oil and gas exploratory drilling, no public hearing, no rights to cross-examine applicants on their track record and no ability to bring expert evidence on the adequacy or otherwise of spill mitigation measures.

“Instead, we will have to rely on the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to properly assess applications behind closed doors and with no transparency whatsoever. This is poor process and is even more extraordinary in light of the high risks associated with deep-sea exploratory drilling.

“The EPA, in administering the current legal regime, which is itself inadequate, has yet to demonstrate its competence.”

Greenpeace New Zealand is seeking a judicial review of the process the EPA followed to allow Anadarko to drill exploration wells in a deep-sea Taranaki prospect, currently under way, and a second well early next year in the EEZ off the Canterbury coast.

The new regulations put meat on the bones of new legislation governing economic activity in the EEZ, which extends from the 12 nautical mile coastal waters limit, where existing resource management and environmental law operates, out to 200 kilometres from the coast. Activity in the EEZ has not previously been regulated.

The draft regulations propose classifying exploratory drilling for oil and gas as a non-notified discretionary activity, meaning the EPA still has to decide whether or not to issue a permit for exploration to occur, but does not have to seek public views.

That is largely because exploratory drilling is far lower risk than, for example, establishing oil and gas production wells, potentially making public hearings on applications to explore unnecessarily time-consuming and expensive.

“The proposed non-notified discretionary classification appears to be the pragmatic option for these activities, and would provide a level of regulation proportionate to their effects,” said Adams in a statement. “It would provide effective oversight and environmental safeguards without burdening industry with excessive costs and timeframes."

Public submissions on the proposed regulations are due by Jan. 31.

Under the EEZ Act, activities may be classified as permitted, discretionary, non-notified discretionary or prohibited.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Power Outages, Roads Close: Easter Storm Moving Down Country

The NZ Transport Agency says storm conditions at the start of the Easter break are making driving hazardous in Auckland and Northland and it advises people extreme care is needed on the regions’ state highways and roads... More>>

ALSO:

Houses (& Tobacco) Lead Inflation: CPI Up 0.3% In March Quarter

The consumers price index (CPI) rose 0.3 percent in the March 2014 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. Higher tobacco and housing prices were partly countered by seasonally cheaper international air fares, vegetables, and package holidays. More>>

ALSO:

Notoriously Reliable Predictions: Budget To Show Rise In Full-Time Income To 2018: English

This year’s Budget will forecast wage increases through to 2018 amounting to a $10,500 a year increase in average full time earnings over six years to $62,200 a year, says Finance Minister Bill English in a speech urging voters not to “put all of this at risk” by changing the government. More>>

ALSO:

Prices Up, Volume Down: March NZ House Sales Drop 10% As Loan Curbs Bite

New Zealand house sales dropped 10 percent in March from a year earlier as the Reserve Bank’s restrictions on low-equity mortgages continue to weigh on sales of cheaper property. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Chorus To Appeal Copper Pricing Judgment

Chorus will appeal a High Court ruling upholding the Commerce Commission’s determination setting the regulated prices on the telecommunications network operator’s copper lines. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

Cars: Precautionary Recalls Announced For Toyota Vehicles

Toyota advises that a number of its New Zealand vehicles are affected by a series of precautionary global recalls. Toyota New Zealand General Manager Customer Services Spencer Morris stressed that the recalls are precautionary. More>>

ALSO:

'Gardening Club': Air Freight Cartel Nets Almost $12 Million In Penalties

The High Court in Auckland has today ordered Swiss company Kuehne + Nagel International AG to pay a penalty of $3.1 million plus costs for breaches of the Commerce Act. Kuehne + Nagel’s penalty brings the total penalties ordered in this case to $11.95 million ... More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: Revenue Below Projections

Core Crown tax revenue has increased by $1.9 billion (or 5.0%) compared to the same time last year. However this was $1.1 billion less than expected and is reflected across most tax types, continuing the pattern of recent months. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news