Deep-sea drilling change slammed

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull has slammed the Government's decision to waive notification of exploratory deep-sea drilling.

Environment Minister Amy Adams yesterday announced activities involved in exploratory drilling for oil and gas will be classified as non-notified discretionary, under new regulations which come into effect today.

Mr Cull said the move was inconsistent with the Resource Management Act (RMA), which dealt with land-based activities.

''This [Economic Exclusion Zone Act regulation] is saying we don't care who might be affected. We'll set up a body to decide if an activity has effects, and that's taking it away from the public.''

Mr Cull said he was not taking sides over exploratory drilling, but he felt the new regulations were preemptive.

''I find it hard to believe you can carte blanche say it doesn't matter where or how you drill, activities will be non-notified. I think it's unfortunate to prejudge whether activities might have effects,'' he said.

Greenpeace energy campaigner Steve Abel said the exploratory phase of drilling was the most dangerous, and the Government had stripped away New Zealanders' chance to formally oppose it.

''This is a cowardly move from a Government doing the bidding of foreign oil companies,'' he said.

Oil Free Otago spokeswoman Niamh O'Flynn, of Dunedin, said the classification ruling was in line with the Government's ''shutting people out of the process more and more''.

If people were unable to make submissions on proposed activities, they

were more likely to be involved in public protest to get their view across.

''It does mean we need to be more creative in the way we choose to oppose it [exploratory drilling]. Protesting becomes a more important way of dealing with this issue because formal channels are being shut down.''

Public protest against exploratory drilling off Otago's coast would continue, she said.

Ms Adams said the non-notified discretionary classification was a ''pragmatic'' option for exploratory drilling, and would ''provide a level of regulation proportionate to its effects''.

''The classification will provide effective oversight and environmental safeguards without burdening industry with excessive costs and timeframes,'' she said.

Ms Adams said an operator would have to apply for a separate consent to produce oil or gas, and that consent would be subject to public consultation.

- rosie.manins@odt.co.nz

 

oil

This govenment has little spine so why are you surprised.

If oil was discovered just how much would NZ get out of it any way?

Would the equipment needed to react to any incident with deep wells be on hand if needed in a hurry?

If this govenment's record is anything to go by we've probably already be sold out. 

Environment Minister slams slammers

Amy Adams has slammed claims that any rights have been "stripped away".

"“As a minister in the previous Labour Government, David Cunliffe knows there was no environment oversight and certainly no public involvement in the exploratory drilling process under his watch,” Ms Adams says.

“Under his government, 36 wells were drilled in the EEZ between 1999 and 2008 with no legislation in place to protect the environment.

“In fact, the Labour regime only required the Minister for Energy and Resources to sign a permit and required no formal environmental assessment at all. That’s it – no public comment, no submissions, no consideration of environmental effects." 

protests

"Public protest against exploratory drilling off Otago's coast would continue, she said."

Not for long.  AUS has banned protesting and NZ is about to follow suit.  Key won't be happy until NZ resembles North Korea and he's hanging out with Dennis Rodman. 

The public never had any say

Mayor Cull: "''I find it hard to believe you can carte blanche say it doesn't matter where or how you drill, activities will be
non-notified".

That's not what is being said. Regulations and the consenting process have been improved.

Greenpeace energy campaigner Steve Abel said the Government had stripped away New Zealanders' chance to formally oppose it.

Oil Free Otago spokeswoman Niamh O'Flynn, of Dunedin, said the classification ruling was in line with the Government's ''shutting people out of the process more and more''.

Nothing has been stripped away, the public are not being shut out more. The public never had any say.

Adams: "But in terms of it being non-notified, well the public has no say on them now and never has had."

"There has never been a process for the public to have their say on exploratory drilling, and there’s never been a process for  any regulator oversight. Now we say that’s not good enough, and actually we want there to be very full robust consideration of the proposal."

 

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