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.”

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

To date, the Opposition has continued to occupy itself with the marginalia of the issue. E.g. whether Key did or didn’t know whether Barack Obama would be present at the US briefing last week on IS, or whether New Zealand’s military involvement is or isn’t already a fait accompli.

It might be better to tackle the issue, head on. Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn.
More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Tea Breaks 'Gone By Lunch Time'

“How cynical that on the eve of Labour weekend, the National government is pushing through legislation that takes away the statutory right to tea and meal breaks along with collective bargaining protections, and makes vulnerable workers jobs even less secure." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Tertiary Education: Students Doing It Tough As Fees Rise Again

The Government is making it increasingly difficult for Kiwis to gain tertiary education as fees continue to rise and access to student support becomes even more restricted, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. More>>

ALSO:

Housing, Iraq: PM Press Conference – 20 October 2014

Prime Minister John Key met with press today to discuss:
• Housing prices and redevelopment in Auckland
• Discussions with Tony Abbott on the governmental response to ISIS, and New Zealand’s election to the UN Security Council More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news