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Oil industry threat to New Zealand's environment may be over

Oil industry threat to New Zealand's environment may be over

With the American oil giant Anadarko looking like heading home after a second unsuccessful exploratory well, there is renewed hope that the threat to New Zealand’s coasts and climate will now be over.

Both Anadarko and the Government argued that the discovery of oil would bring economic benefit to New Zealand, but their claims have backfired as it now appears that there is no oil to drill for. Leaked information shows that the company found hardrock granite and schist, but little, if any, oil.

"Now is the time to celebrate the good news of this situation," says 350.org organiser John Adams. He says that there is the benefit of avoiding the risk of an oil spill, which would have destroyed an important marine ecosystem.

"Add to that the jobs in conservation and tourism that will be viable into the future with the threat of an oil spill removed. There is the benefit of not seeing any profits that might have eventuated from the scheme being drained off to investors overseas."

Rex Verity, another 350.org member, says that the departure of Anadarko is good news for the climate.

"If we want to live on a planet with a stable climate, we have to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. That means that we can’t afford to go looking for more fossil fuels to burn: if we want to stay below 2 celsius degrees of warming, then we’ve got to leave 80% of the known fossil fuel reserves in the ground."

"There is the huge advantage of seeing any oil which might exist stay in the ground. Had it been drilled and burned it would have added significantly to atmospheric carbon dioxide levels."

"It would be great to see Simon Bridges as Minister of Energy and Resources ensure that these benefits are realised and maximised by not granting any more drilling permits, especially as his colleague Nick Smith has called the ocean ‘the final frontier for conservation,’" says John Adams.

"Then our coasts and climate will be saved and New Zealand can celebrate."


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