Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


PCE Interim Report: No Moratorium on Fracking

PCE Interim Report: No Moratorium on Fracking


Scoop Video+Audio+Photos

By Mark P. Williams


Click for big version.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment today released its interim report on the risks and benefits of hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking' to New Zealand. The report concludes that there is no reason to suspend the use of fracking. It went on to say that although there are risks arising from the use and expansion of fracking these can be reduced with proper regulation and implementation of appropriate best practice as in other industries.

The interim report also indicated that the main problems with the industry are the complex and context dependent nature of the relationship between the type of fracking being undertaken and the geological and hydrological nature of the area it was taking place.

In a presentation on the report, Dr Jan Wright explored these issues and took questions from the press (see below).

The interim report emphasised three main issues it was necessary to address:

1: Complexity and accountability
Finding out precisely which department has oversight of what stages of the process such as:

  • Environmental Risk - This varies depending on very specific local conditions but permits granted often cover very large areas allowing companies to decide where to drill without reference to local or central govt
  • Standardisation and Best Practice - Companies drilling wells are often using different designs and construction standards
  • Well Integrity - It is still unclear whether the primary responsibility for maintaining wells responsibly in each case falls to Regional Councils orThe High Hazards Unit
  • The Ministry for the Environment has not provided any specific guidance to councils on the subject of fracking
  • 2: "Light Handed" Regulation

    The interim report identifies a global shift over a thirty year period towards industry-led regulation, leading to low governmental oversight.

    In New Zealand companies appear to regulate and monitor their own behaviour. The report cites the well-examination scheme of the UK, supervising the construction and maintenance of wells, stating that New Zealand has no such scheme. The report observes that NZ companies are required to provide highly technical information to councils but that there is no guarantee that the information will be fully comprehended, and thus no guarantee that councils can effectively debate the implications of the information, leading to poorly-informed decision-making.

    3: The "Social License"

    The report states that the full extent of environmental risks, such as groundwater contamination, and the economic benefits, such as replacing coal resource consumption with comparatively cleaner gas consumption, must be integrated into a system of "golden rules" for when fracking is viable and acceptable.

    The interim report concludes in an open-ended manner by observing that fracking in New Zealand has not yet earned its "social license" to operate in terms of a popular disposition to accept it but that, equally, there was no cause to recommend a moratorium on fracking.

    *******

    *******

    Click a link to play audio (or right-click to download) in either
    MP3 format or in OGG format.

    *******



    ENDS

    © Scoop Media

     
     
     
     
     
    Top Scoops Headlines

     

    Daphne Lawless: The Whale Oil Leaks: Anti-Politics From Above

    As we go to press, the election campaign has been turned upside down by a new book by investigative journalist Nicky Hager. Dirty Politics is based mainly on a leak of 2 gigabytes of emails and Facebook messages from “Whale Oil”, the vicious ... More>>

    ALSO:

    Branko Marcetic: When John Key Was Concerned About Dirty Politics

    If Nicky Hager needs some support in the midst of a whirlwind of government criticism for his allegations of “dirty tricks” by the National Party, he may find one unlikely ally – John Key, six years ago. More>>

    Jim Miles: Israeli War Crimes In Gaza

    Israel reveals its true colours and true aspirations every time it attacks Gaza (or any other self-perceived enemy) as being the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, even to the degree - as the references above indicate - to the act of genocide. More>>

    David Swanson: Top 9 Reasons To Stop Bombing Iraq

    1. It's not a rescue mission. The U.S. personnel could be evacuated without the 500-pound bombs. The persecuted minorities could be supplied, moved, or their enemy dissuaded, or all three, without the 500-pound bombs or the hundreds of 'advisors' (trained ... More>>

    Binoy Kampmark: Comedian’s Death: Robin Williams And The Virtues Of Suicide

    The Grim Reaper never runs out of converts. Put another way, death never gets his full due. Comedians do not figure well in this – they are particularly attractive targets in the business of death. More>>

    Suzan Mazur: "Oomph" & Origin Of Life At Hydrothermal Vents

    The notion that life originated in hydrothermal vents was for a long time a sleepy area of scientific inquiry because the vents first found, known as 'black smokers,' were way too hot and acidic. But in 1989, Michael Russell, a British geochemist who ... More>>

    Gordon Campbell: On The US Rescue Mission In Iraq

    It isn’t often that unilateral US bombing raids within a foreign country can be supported, but the current US bombing campaign in northern Iraq is one such case. The fighters of the Islamic State (IS) appear to be intent on committing genocide against the Yezidis, Christians, Turkmen, Kurds and every other non-Sunni community in the region… More>>

    ALSO:

    Stuart Littlewood: What More Horrors Are In Store For Gaza?

    I wonder what Hamas and Israeli leaders are thinking as they survey the devastation in Gaza and review the death-toll and casualty figures? Or course, neither has to live among the ruins and clamber over the devastation. More>>

    ALSO:

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
    TEDxAuckland
     
     
     
     
    Top Scoops
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news