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Oil Companies Drill On, Ignoring Climate Science

Today Australian oil company Beach Energy are presenting an application before the EPA (Environmental Protection Authority) for the future discharge of a cupful of harmful substance from the deck of a drill rig in the Canterbury Basin. This tiny amount of toxic substance is the only part of Beach Energy’s new exploratory deep sea drilling proposal, planned for late next year, in which the public can have a say.

Today's hearing, due to Covid Level 2, is being held by zoom video conference.

"This hearing is farcical" said Oil Free Otago spokesperson and Green Party Dunedin candidate Jack Brazil. "We're not allowed to consider anything more than a cupful of toxic substance. The climate crisis is once again being dismissed by the EPA."

"The EPA heeded public health science by moving Beach Energy's hearing to zoom" said Oil Free Otago's Rosemary Penwarden. "They should also heed climate science and decline Beach Energy's entire application to explore for new oil and gas that we can't afford to burn if we are to retain a liveable future.”

“It’s 2020. We are in a climate emergency." says Brazil. "Yet despite catastrophic fires, worsening floods, typhoons and droughts, zombie companies like Beach Energy drill on. Despite the Ardern government’s ban on new deep sea drilling, these companies drill on, threatening our future for short term profit.”

NZ banned new deep sea oil and gas drilling in 2018, but not already existing permits. Beach Energy's proposed well site is in a pre-existing permit to the north of Texan oil giant Anadarko’s 2014 failed well.

Oil Free Otago last year were organising a flotilla to OMV’s drill rig the COSL Prospector in the Great South Basin when it abruptly left. But it did not get away free. Protestors climbed the rig as it passed through Cook Strait.

“Beach Energy should know they are not welcome in our southern ocean. We'll be there every step of the way to stop this madness.”

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