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School Strike 4 Climate NZ Condemns Oil Exploration Consent Grants To Austrian Oil Giant OMV

On Friday 15th May, over 1,500 New Zealanders stood united from the safety of their own homes, to demand that Aotearoa #UniteBehindClimate and form a green climate-friendly COVID-19 recovery. On the same day, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) announced that they had, one week earlier, granted Austrian oil giant OMV permission to drill 10 exploratory wells in the Maui Field off the coast of Taranaki.

School Strike 4 Climate NZ is appalled by this complete disregard for the climate crisis we are facing. Studies have shown that in order to stay below even 2 of warming, we can’t afford to burn the fossil fuel reserves we have already identified, let alone search for more. If OMV succeeds in finding oil, and gaining the consent required to extract it, they will be contributing to the destruction of any safe future for the next generations.

Any oil that is found and extracted as a result of this exploration will cause more warming, meaning genocide for many Pacific nations and other regions around the world. The EPA did not consider this in its decision-making process, and did not allow public submissions either, meaning that those whose lives will be and are already being directly affected by the climate crisis had no chance to make their voice heard.

Last December, New Zealanders from across the country participated in protests demanding that OMV leave our waters for good. Not only were these protests ignored, but new consents have now been granted to the same company.

“This decision by the EPA is a disgrace to Aotearoa, and fails to honour our obligations to our Pacific neighbours to stop climate change from getting any more severe,” says School Strike 4 Climate NZ. “We are fast running out of time to stop the climate crisis and we cannot afford to look for more fossil fuels.”

Our Government has claimed that by 2050 we will have reached net zero carbon emissions. It is concerning that whilst our Government has set this target, they, through the Environmental Protection Agency, are issuing permits which will directly contribute to the perpetuation of the climate crisis.

OMV cannot be allowed to drill for oil in a climate emergency, and SS4C NZ is calling on the Government and the EPA to act to stop this drilling. “Now is the best time to act, and we don’t have time to wait. Our futures are at risk. You say Aotearoa is a climate leader - now you must act like it.”

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