The good the bad and the ugly of Hodgson’s RMA
Auckland, Thursday 7 August 2003: Greenpeace today welcomed some parts of Pete Hodgson’s proposed Resource Management Act (RMA) amendments, but expressed grave concern over the gaping holes in climate protection left by key proposals.
“On one hand the proposed law supports renewable ways for generating electricity and energy efficiency to reduce climate change. But on the other hand it says regional councils will not be able to consider greenhouse gas emissions when looking at resource consents. That would be fine if there were existing mechanisms to protect the climate from greenhouse gas pollution – but there’s not,” said climate campaigner Vanessa Atkinson.
“The RMA amendments are one small step for renewable energy, but one giant leap backwards for climate protection.”
“The amendments point to a possible future National Environmental Standard to address climate change pollution – but there isn’t one. The carbon tax on emissions doesn’t take effect until 2007. The amendments optimistically suggest that Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements would fill the gap, but these special industry deals could just be ‘get out of jail free’ cards for big climate polluters.”
“The RMA amendments create a loophole you could drive a coal truck through. It raises the question whether this is a cynical move to allow the approval of more coal, oil and gas polluting power stations before any national regulation comes into force.”
“If there was any doubt about who is set to benefit from these amendments the explanatory notes provides the answer. It states they will ‘result in cost savings for those industries and individuals who emit greenhouse gases…. such as oil refineries, coal- and gas-fired power stations and cement producers’.”
“The carbon tax is a Labour Party policy. Policies and leadership can change. The threat of a future carbon tax has so far proven useless in slowing the massive increase in the burning of coal for electricity – the most carbon dioxide intensive fossil fuel - as Genesis is moving ahead with long term coal purchases to change Huntly power station to run mostly on coal.”
“Amendments to remove greenhouse gas emission
considerations at a regional council level should be delayed
until active national mechanisms are in place”, concluded