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Public silenced on oil well consents

13 August 2013

Public silenced on oil well consents

The Gisborne District Council is wrong to deny residents a say on the first proposed oil well in the district, the Green Party said today.

“An international corporation should not be allowed to apply for consents to drill an oil well on the East Coast without public input,” said Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

Mr Hughes was responding to the Gisborne District Council which today decided that it will not hold public submissions or a hearings process for resource consent applications from TAG Oil Ltd relating to a proposed exploratory petroleum well. This is the first such application in the district.

“This is the poor type of decision making that you’ll get from local councils under a National Government that is so blatantly eager to progress it’s petroleum development agenda no matter what the public thinks,” said Mr Hughes.

“The Council is silencing its own residents, who asked to be consulted on the issue, in favour of an international oil company.”

In June, Frack-Free Tairawhiti tabled a petition with 2,000 signatures calling on Gisborne District Council to publicly notify any oil and gas-related resource consents.

Mr Hughes said the public was worried about the expansion of oil and gas on the East Coast and the prospect of fracking.

“The Government’s own East Coast Oil and Gas Development Study states that petroleum development in the region is most likely to include fracking. Indeed, TAG Oil’s application material includes a list of fracking chemicals although the company is not seeking a resource consent to frack at this time,” said Mr Hughes.

“New Zealand’s independent environmental watchdog, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, concluded in an interim report on fracking that oil and gas companies didn’t have a ‘social license’ to operate. Blocking community voices from being heard over consents is no way to earn that social license.”

References:
Gisborne District Council decision to make TAG’s consents non-notified: www.gdc.govt.nz/tag-oil-and-apache-corporation-resource-consent-application

ENDS

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