Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Too much uncertainty over seabed mining application

Too much uncertainty for seabed mining application to be approved – KASM

The degree of uncertainty around the environmental impacts of seabed mining is too great for the EPA to grant New Zealand’s first-ever marine license to mine the seabed, Kiwis Against Seabed Mining said today.

Giving the community organisation’s closing submission to the EPA hearings into seabed mining today, KASM lawyer Duncan Currie pointed out the many international – and national – legal precedents showing that in the face of uncertainty and lack of information, the EPA’s Decision Making Committee (DMC) had no choice but to take a precautionary approach and decline the application.

Trans Tasman Resources wants to mine 50 million tonnes a year – for 20 years - from the seabed in a 66sqkm area in the South Taranaki Bight off Patea, but simply hadn’t provided sufficient scientific information to satisfy anybody on the environmental impact, he said.

During the hearings, the company had proposed an alternative approach of first undertaking two years of baseline monitoring before starting mining. This was, Currie told the hearing, “completely unacceptable” and would be an “invalid delegation to the EPA” which was required to take a decision on the evidence given in this hearing.

“Instead, the consent should be declined and the applicant should go and establish the baseline before re-applying, if they choose to reapply, then have that baseline tested in the hearing process the way it should have been in this hearing.”

KASM agreed with the EPA staff report, released this week, which pointed out the degree of uncertainty was too great to be satisfactorily addressed by the EPA certifying an environmental management plan at a later date.

“The mining will have the potential through the sedimentation, plume and noise to cause significant damage to the benthic environment, phytoplankton and zooplankton, fish and marine mammals,” Currie told the hearing.

Granting consent with an “adaptive management” approach “in the hope that conditions will ameliorate the problems in time” would be wrong.

“If full-scale mining was to commence at the scale laid before the DMC, it would be very difficult to know the effects, due to time lags, and again, the lack of a baseline means that ascertaining the effects would be impossible.

“Who is to know if Maui’s dolphins have left for other areas, were injured or killed, or did not find feed, when no acoustic or proper aerial surveys were done beforehand? And who is to know if sediment on the area and in the traps is having an effect for decades? And who is to know how long the recovery period will take?”

A new NIWA report given to the EPA last week confirmed the South Taranaki Bight is a foraging ground for blue whales. The report was based on the scientific expedition in January where 50 blue whales were seen in the area.

For both blue whales and Maui’s dolphins, “there is… little if any chance of detecting impacts during or after mining before damage is done. We know that they are long-lived, slow reproducing animals and that it would be difficult to detect changes in survival or reproductive rates. All we are left with is uncertainty, and risk.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Environment Commissioner: We Need To Work Together On Climate Change And Farming

“The debate around agricultural emissions and the ETS has been polarised for too long,” said the Commissioner. “But the ETS is not the only way forward – there are other things that can be done.” More>>


NZ Super Fund: Seeking To Put A Market Price On Climate Change

Oct. 19 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand Superannuation Fund says it will devise a set of rules to assess investment winners and losers under climate change, a strategy that could rule out fossil fuels or producers such as current portfolio member Exxon ... More>>


Rejuvenation: Parata Will Not Contest 2017 Election

Education Minister and National List MP Hekia Parata has today announced that she will not be contesting the next election. She advised the Prime Minister of her decision earlier this year. More>>

Prisons Grow: Government Approves Plans For Increased Prison Capacity

Despite significant progress in reducing crime the number of prisoners has increased faster than projected. This is because the proportion of offenders charged with serious crimes has risen, meaning more people are being remanded in custody and serving more of their sentences in prison. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Plastic Bag Activism, And Street Harassment

Amusing to see the Act Party experiencing another outbreak of young fogey-ism. What has aroused the ire of Act Leader David Seymour this time is the introduction of a Greens private members bill to the ballot process, calling for a 15 cents levy on plastic bags to reduce pollution. More>>


Unclear Weapons: US Navy Ship Cleared To Visit NZ For Navy's 75th

United States Navy ship, the USS Sampson, has been given clearance to visit New Zealand next month by Prime Minister John Key... “The process for considering the visit by the USS Sampson is the same as that used for all ships attending the International Naval Review." More>>


P Policy: $15m Allocated To Tackling Drug Abuse

Almost $15 million dollars seized from criminals will be invested in anti-drug initiatives, with more funding for Police and Customs and a greater focus on treatment for drug abusers, Prime Minister John Key says. More>>


More Or Less Democratic Countries: Fiji Prime Minister To Visit NZ

“This will be Prime Minister Bainimarama’s first official visit to New Zealand as Fiji’s Prime Minister,” Mr Key says. “New Zealand and Fiji have strong ties in a range of areas, and the Prime Minister’s visit presents a further opportunity to discuss issues of mutual interest.” More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news