Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Deep sea industries face new environmental regime

Deep sea industries face new environmental regime

By Pattrick Smellie

Aug. 24 (BusinessDesk) – Development of resources in New Zealand’s deepwater Exclusive Economic Zone will require environmental assessments from now on and deep sea drilling will have to comply with new safety rules developed after last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil-spill.

The interim measures were announced by Environment Minister Nick Smith as he introduced long-awaited legislation to Parliament to govern environmental impacts in the EEZ and the Extended Continental Shelf, both of which extend 200 kilometres from New Zealand territory.

Scheduled to be in force by next July, the new law may also be accompanied by requirements on oil and gas explorers to take out higher liability insurance than the currently required level of $30 million.

The moves were welcomed by the Environmental Defence Society and the minerals lobby group Straterra, but derided by the Green Party for assisting dangerous extractive industries that contribute to climate change.

“This legislation puts in place a robust system of environmental controls for the huge ocean and seabed area 20 times that of New Zealand’s landmass that is currently unregulated,” said Smith. “This is about ensuring that New Zealand is environmentally responsible in taking up the significant economic opportunities in our EEZ and ECS.”

The Bill makes the new Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) responsible for consenting, monitoring and enforcing activities with environmental impacts, like oil exploration, seabed mining, deepwater aquaculture and marine energy development.

It also requires public consultation on regulations and consents and enables activities to be classified as permitted, discretionary or prohibited.

They follow last week’s announcement that a High Hazards Unit will be established in the Department of Labour, in response both to public anxiety about underground coal-mining safety following the Pike River coal disaster, and the dangers of deep-sea drilling following last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, which killed workers and spilt millions of litres of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

"The bill establishes a framework for regulations that will classify activities as permitted, discretionary or prohibited,” said EDS executive director Gary Taylor, a prime mover in getting the EEZ legislation under way. “If the regulatory settings are right, this should mean that activities that carry significant and unacceptable environmental risks would not get consent.

"The bill sets out decision-making criteria that include recognising biological values and requires decision-makers to take a precautionary approach when information is limited.

"Any significant proposals will be subject to full public hearings.”

Straterra’s Chris Baker welcomed the legislation, saying “in the majority of cases the effects of development on the environment can be managed in a sustainable way.”

“Properly encouraged and managed, New Zealand’s ocean resources could make a significant contribution to the national economy over time.”

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 


Stats NZ: Quarterly Inflation Rising Steadily Across The Board

Higher prices for transport and food have driven up inflation for the all households group in the June 2021 quarter, Stats NZ said today. The ‘all households group’ represents all private New Zealand-resident households... More>>


Stats NZ: Primary Products Push Exports To A New High

New Zealand exports reached a new high in June 2021, off the back of record export values for logs and beef, Stats NZ said today. In June 2021, the value of all goods exports rose... More>>



Energy: New Zealand Could Be World’s First Large-scale Producer Of Green Hydrogen

Contact Energy and Meridian Energy are seeking registrations of interest to develop the world’s largest green hydrogen plant. The plant has the potential to earn hundreds of millions in export revenue and help decarbonise economies both here and overseas... More>>




Statistics: Household Saving Falls In The March 2021 Quarter

Saving by New Zealanders in the March 2021 quarter fell to its lowest level in two years after rising sharply in 2020, Stats NZ said today. Increases in household spending outpaced income growth, leading to a decline in household saving from the elevated levels that prevailed throughout 2020... More>>

ALSO: