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

 


Government issues fracking guidelines before watchdog report

Government issues fracking guidelines ahead of parliamentary watchdog’s report

March 27 (BusinessDesk) – The government has issued what it says are best practice guidelines for undertaking hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, including how to undertake so-called “land farming” and warning that fracking fluids can migrate into drinking water and need to be controlled.

Environment Minister Amy Adams issued the guidelines today, ahead of the expected release around Easter of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s final report on fracking.

The PCE’s preliminary report in late 2012 found fracking was probably safe as long as it was well-regulated, but that more study was required before issuing a final position. The PCE, Jan Wright, has also raised broader concerns that the growing use of fracking will contribute to global climate change.

Her final report was due last year, but has been delayed while further evidence is assessed.

The guidelines published today make clear that “applications for water and discharge activities for these activities will need to specifically address whether registered drinking water sources are located downstream, to what extent the activities will affect these supplies, and ways to ensure effects are avoided, remedied or mitigated.”

The guidelines note also that it’s possible that “the migration of fracturing fluid through pathways could affect water supplies upstream of the discharge point, depending on the nature of the underlying geology.”

While this situation did not trigger the 2008 National Environment Standard for Sources of Human Drinking Water on its own, “the risk of this occurring needs to be assessed in an application for hydraulic fracturing, as it may produce adverse effects on upstream water quality.”

The guidelines also cover land farming, the practice of spreading drilling waste onto land to “allow for natural bio-remediation as various soil processes transform and assimilate the waste.”

The practice has become controversial since discovery of low compliance with land farming regulations on at least one Taranaki land farm, where cattle were found grazing on pasture where drilling waste had not been fully treated.

The guidelines also make clear that flow-back fluids from the fracking process should not be spread on agricultural land.

“The disposal of return fluid from hydraulic fracturing operations (including formation fluid) using land-based disposal is not endorsed by these guidelines,” the document, published on the Ministry for the Environment website. “Disposal of return fluids is considered better suited to deep well injection or disposal at an industrial waste facility.”

Land farming was best suited to light, sandy soils in windswept areas, because of its capacity to reduce erosion.

“The environmental risks of onshore petroleum development, including hydraulic fracturing can be effectively managed if best practice is followed,” said Adams in a statement. “These guidelines provide clear direction so that hydraulic fracturing is carried out in a robust, controlled and well regulated manner.”

The guidelines come as local government agencies in areas unfamiliar with the oil and gas industry, such as Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne, begin to see onshore oil and gas exploration.

“The guidelines clarify the responsibilities of councils from initial investigation and planning to consenting, and will support councils so that the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing are managed appropriately across the country,” said Adams.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Cosmetics & Pollution: Proposal To Ban Microbeads

Cosmetic products containing microbeads will be banned under a proposal announced by the Minister for the Environment today. Marine scientists have been advocating for a ban on the microplastics, which have been found to quickly enter waterways and harm marine life. More>>

ALSO:

NIWA: 2016 New Zealand’s Warmest Year On Record

Annual temperatures were above average (0.51°C to 1.20°C above the annual average) throughout the country, with very few locations observing near average temperatures (within 0.5°C of the annual average) or lower. The year 2016 was the warmest on record for New Zealand, based on NIWA’s seven-station series which begins in 1909. More>>

ALSO:

Farewell 2016: NZ Economy Flies Through 2016's Political Curveballs

Dec. 23 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's economy batted away some curly political curveballs of 2016 to end the year on a high note, with its twin planks of a booming construction sector and rampant tourism soon to be joined by a resurgent dairy industry. More>>

ALSO:


NZ Economy: More Growth Than Expected In 3rd Qtr

Dec. 22 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's economy grew at a faster pace than expected in the September quarter as a booming construction sector continued to underpin activity, spilling over into related building services, and was bolstered by tourism and transport ... More>>

  • NZ Govt - Solid growth for NZ despite fragile world economy
  • NZ Council of Trade Unions - Government needs to ensure economy raises living standards
  • KiwiRail Goes Deisel: Cans electric trains on partially electrified North Island trunkline

    Dec. 21 (BusinessDesk) – KiwiRail, the state-owned rail and freight operator, said a small fleet of electric trains on New Zealand’s North Island would be phased out over the next two years and replaced with diesel locomotives. More>>

  • KiwiRail - KiwiRail announces fleet decision on North Island line
  • Greens - Ditching electric trains massive step backwards
  • Labour - Bill English turns ‘Think Big’ into ‘Think Backwards’
  • First Union - Train drivers condemn KiwiRail’s return to “dirty diesel”
  • NZ First - KiwiRail Going Backwards for Xmas
  • NIWA: The Year's Top Science Findings

    Since 1972 NIWA has operated a Clean Air Monitoring Station at Baring Head, near Wellington... In June, Baring Head’s carbon dioxide readings officially passed 400 parts per million (ppm), a level last reached more than three million years ago. More>>

    ALSO:

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Business
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news