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Safety of fracking not guaranteed by PCE

EMBARGOED until 2:00PM 27 November 2012

27 November 2012

Safety of fracking not guaranteed by PCE

The Green Party is renewing its call for a moratorium on fracking in light of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s (PCE) report, which could not guarantee the safety of fracking in New Zealand.

“The PCE’s report does not say that fracking in New Zealand is safe; the report concludes that fracking companies do not have a ‘social licence’ to operate and that the regulation is fragmented and light-handed,” said Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s interim report on fracking entitled, “Evaluating the environmental impacts of fracking in New Zealand” was tabled today in Parliament.

“The PCE has said fracking can be effectively managed if best practice is enforced through regulation, but said at this stage she can’t be confident that operational best practices are actually being implemented and enforced in New Zealand,” said Mr Hughes.

“Our regulation in New Zealand does not enforce best practice for fracking.

“The report says, ‘In New Zealand, to a considerable extent, companies appear to be not only regulating themselves, but monitoring their own performance.’”

Mr Hughes urged the Government and councils to take a safety-first approach and put a halt on fracking until we have strong regulations in place to ensure the health of people and the environment.

“The fact that the PCE cannot not guarantee that world best practice is being implemented in New Zealand and has pointed out many potential gaps in regulation is in itself a compelling case to implement a moratorium on fracking.

“The PCE has identified numerous ways in which fracking can cause environmental harm, and said, “the potential for important aquifers to be contaminated as a result of fracking is very real.’

“Given that the oil and gas isn’t going anywhere, why allow fracking to continue in the absence of a guarantee that world best practice is being implemented in New Zealand?

“There is a real risk that fracking will expand beyond Taranaki to other parts of New Zealand before a robust regulatory regime is in place.”

Mr Hughes also questioned the Government’s support for the expansion of the oil and gas industry in New Zealand.

“Renewable energy will always be cleaner and safer than fracking and is a better future for New Zealand,” said Mr Hughes.


For evidence of poor oversight of fracking in New Zealand:

http://www.greens.org.nz/misc-documents/fracking-regulatory-failures-and-short-comings-nz


ENDS

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