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Seismic surveying in Taranaki to go ahead

29 November 2017

Seismic surveying in Taranaki to go ahead

National Party Energy and Resources Spokesperson and MP for New Plymouth Jonathan Young has welcomed the Government’s decision to grant permits for seismic surveying in the Taranaki offshore basin, but is concerned about the potential for tightening of the regime in future.

“It’s great that the Crown Minerals Act, and its regulatory regime has not been subverted by the emotive rhetoric of Greenpeace. I am however concerned at the comments by the Prime Minister about changing the law in future and will watch these developments closely.

“Seismic surveying offshore is an established practice with strict requirements laid down in DOC’s code of conduct, developed by scientists and overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency. With these science-based procedures set in place, marine habitats are protected from any adverse effects of seismic surveying.

Mr Young says natural gas remains a crucial transition fuel as we move towards a low carbon economy in the future.

“Natural gas is cited as the reason why the USA has significantly reduced its emission levels, as coal fired electricity generation is converted to gas fired. Gas has been identified as the "transition fuel" between what has been and what is to come in a more developed renewable energy world.

“While the current Government has a goal of net zero emissions by 2050, the reality is that transition will take time as technology, infrastructure and economics make it possible.

“It’s also important to remember that New Zealand’s gross emissions are approximately 0.16 per cent of total world emissions, with New Zealand’s energy profile, being both liquid fuels and electricity generation through fossil fuels being 40 per cent of that, or .064 per cent of world emissions.

“The Government needs to make sound sensible science-based decisions around natural gas and ignore the emotional pressures from Greenpeace.”

Notes to editor:

Seismic survey operators are required to:

· Utilise Passive Acoustic Monitoring systems (PAM) to detect the presence of marine mammals during seismic operations.
· Ensure there is a 1.5km radius for species of concern with young, 1km for species of concern without young, and 200m for all other species and have two independent trained marine mammal observers and two passive acoustic monitoring operators on board who can stop the seismic survey at any time if marine mammals are detected within the set mitigation zones.
· Record all observations/sightings of marine mammals before and during operations

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