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EEZ proposal offers sensible protection for oceans

Hon Amy Adams

Minister for the Environment

28 August 2013 Media Statement
EEZ proposal offers sensible protection for oceans

Following announcements made in April, Environment Minister Amy Adams has today released a supplementary order paper (SOP) to the Marine Legislation Bill to introduce a new non-notified discretionary classification for the marine consent regime under the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf Act.

The Marine Legislation Bill transfers the regulation of dumping and certain discharges related to EEZ activities from Maritime NZ to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

A new non-notified discretionary category would provide the EPA with similar options to those currently available under the Maritime Transport Act for considering discharge and dumping activities.

The new classification would also provide an appropriate level of oversight and discretion by the EPA for activities that take place over a short period of time or are routine but still necessitate full regulator discretion.

Ms Adams has today also released a discussion document seeking feedback on what is proposed to be included in the non-notified discretionary classification.

The discussion document outlines proposals for the effective management of exploratory drilling for oil and gas, discharges of harmful substances and dumping of waste in the EEZ.

“The proposals in the discussion document balance the need to protect the ocean environment, while not overly burdening industry with excessive costs and extended timeframes,” Ms Adams says.

“Commercial activity in our EEZ needs to be carefully managed. It makes sense for the level of regulation of activities in the EEZ to be proportionate to the scale and environmental effects of these activities.

“For example, I am advised that exploratory drilling for oil and gas generally takes place over a period of about four to six weeks, so a simplified process that retains full regulatory discretion appears to be an appropriate response.”

Submissions can be made from today and close on 25 September.

For a copy of the discussion document go to: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/oceans/current-work/index.html

ENDS


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