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Risky deep sea well gets EPA go ahead without consent

24 October 2013

Risky deep sea well gets EPA go ahead without consent

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given oil giant Anadarko the green light to drill an exploratory deep sea oil well offshore from Auckland’s iconic west coast beaches without a consent or public consultation, the Green Party has revealed today.

Under the Government’s recently enacted Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf Act, Anadarko will not be required to get a marine consent for the drilling of its well off the west coast of the North Island because it’s operating under transitional provisions. Under the transitional provisions, Anadarko must submit an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to the EPA, which the EPA must consider complete. The EPA now considers Anadarko’s EIA complete.

“The National Government is acting negligently by allowing Anadarko, a company involved in the Deepwater Horizon spill, to drill an exploratory deep sea oil well without a consent,” said Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

“You need a consent from the Regional Council to drill a water bore on your property in the Waikato, yet American oil company Anadarko doesn’t need a consent to do dangerous exploratory deep sea drilling off the Waikato coast.

“This oil well will be in water deeper than any well drilled in New Zealand and yet the National Government is allowing Anadarko to drill without a consent or public consultation.

“Anadarko’s own report to the EPA backs up Greenpeace’s recent research that shows that if there were a blow-out, we could see oil washing up on our iconic west coast beaches such as Piha and Muriwai.

“The drilling proposed by Anadarko is an entirely different kettle of fish to the shallow water drilling we have seen for the past few decades in Taranaki. The deepest producing well in New Zealand is currently in 125 metres of water, while Anadarko will be drilling in 1520 metres of water.

“Deep sea drilling is not worth the risk.

“The deeper you drill, the harsher the conditions and the harder it is to fix a leak. The consequences for New Zealand’s environment, economy, and reputation could be catastrophic,” said Mr Hughes.

Anadarko’s Environmental Impact Assessment which the EPA has declared complete: http://www.epa.govt.nz/Publications/Deepwater_Taranaki_IA.pdf

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