Texas Of The South’ Needs To Put The Brakes On
Texas Of The South’ Needs To Put The Brakes On, Says Councillor.
Tuesday 27 November.
Hawke’s Bay Regional Councillor Liz Remmerswaal says the just released report on fracking has serious implications for council planning processes.
Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE), Dr Jan Wright, has just released the first of two reports on fracking in New Zealand which vindicate the community fears that Cr Remmerswaal has championed this year.
In June the HBRC heard from over 200 ratepayers during the ten year plan process and as a result formally acknowledged the risks around the practice of hydraulic fracturing(fracking).
Earlier in the year the council unanimously backed Cr Remmerswaal’s call to request a fracking report from the PCE.
The council’s current annual report states that “should the Commissioner’s report include environmental effects that need addressing through the Regional Resource Management Plan then HBRC will undertake notifying the necessary plan changes.’
Council says it “values the protection of ecosystems in the region and recognises that mineral exploration/extraction poses long term risks to soil, water and ecosystems and will ensure all risks are avoided, remedied or mitigated in each application for mineral exploration and extraction.’
Cr Remmerswaal says the PCE report signals clear concerns for the way fracking is done in New Zealand and the regulations around it which means that council has a lot of work to do before it can grant consents in the Bay.
“Dr Wright says best practices are not being implemented and enforced in this country”, she says.
Issues around well sites, well design and construction, surface leaks and spills and waste disposal, if poorly managed could lead to contaminants finding their way into groundwater.
“Dr Wright also highlights the potential for important aquifers to be contaminated as a result of fracking as well as the risk of triggering small earthquake .”
Cr Remmerswaal says the report highlights her fears of the dangers of fracking on the economy and health of Hawke’s Bay people.
“Dr Wright says government regulations are not up to standard, and that comparing Hawke’s Bay to Taranaki are inappropriate, ‘says Cr Remmerswaal.
‘I hope this report and the one that follows means that council will wake up to stop a blind rush to making us a ‘Texas of the South’ .”
Cr Remmerswaal says there is more at stake than just the possible money and jobs dreamed about in the upcoming government/council economic report, due in December on the oil industry in Hawke’s Bay.
She says the PCE report questions whether the same effort is being put into looking at industry impacts as is being put into encouraging it.
“What is the hurry to rush this process which may have such dubious results? The oil isn’t going anywhere, is it?”says Cr Remmerswaal.
Hawke's Bay Regional Councillor