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Kiwis should get say on risky exploratory deep sea drilling

18 April 2013

Kiwis should get a say on risky exploratory deep sea drilling

As we approach the anniversary of the devastating 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Government looks set to allow companies to conduct exploratory deep sea drilling in New Zealand, without public input on proposals, the Green Party said today.

“Deep sea drilling should be a prohibited activity given that, if there is a leak from a deep sea oil rig, the consequence for New Zealand's environment, economy and reputation would be catastrophic,” said Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

Mr Hughes was responding to the Government’s announcement today that it is progressing regulations for activities in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, including regulations for exploratory deep sea drilling.

“Exploratory drilling is the riskiest phase of drilling, and can lead to horrendous accidents,” said Mr Hughes.

“The disastrous Deepwater Horizon spill, which occurred three years ago on April 20th, was from an exploratory well.”

The Government previously suggested that exploratory deep sea drilling be classified as a discretionary activity, but now the Government wants to classify exploratory petroleum drilling as “non-notified discretionary”.

“I am deeply concerned this will mean that the public will not get a say on proposals,” said Mr Hughes.

“Risky exploratory deep sea drilling should be a prohibited activity in our EEZ, but if the Government is going to recklessly allow it to happen, the public should have a say on each and every proposal.

"We don’t need risky deep sea drilling.

“We can create a smart, green economy by moving away from risky extractive activities like deep sea oil drilling, and towards renewable energy and clean-tech jobs,” said Mr Hughes.

Government’s proposal for EEZ regulations: http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/next-steps-new-law-protect-environment


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