Consent for oil drilling could get easier
Thu, 18 Oct 2012 6:17p.m.
By Tova O'Brien
By Tova O’Brien
The Greens say the Government plans to make it more difficult to get consent to build a high fence or a deck on your property than to drill for oil out at sea.
The Government is considering allowing exploratory deep sea oil drilling in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) without consent.
The EEZ is 20 times the size of the country itself.
It's a potential black gold mine for oil prospectors - which is why the Government's considering allowing deep sea oil exploration without consent.
“We're not ruling anything in or out at this stage,” Environment Minister Amy Adams says. “We're going through a process, we're considering everything and then we'll make decisions in due course.”
The Government's EEZ Act has passed into law and aims to better regulate what goes on in our ocean. Certain activities, like oil exploration, will soon be classified as permitted, discretionary or prohibited.
Green MP Gareth Hughes says it looks like there is no going back.
“I think the Government's made up their mind already [and] opened up tens of thousands of [square kilometres of] New Zealand ocean for deep sea drilling. Some blocks are between one and three kilometres deep.”
The oil industry says it doesn't want lower standards, it just wants a quicker process to give explorers certainty so they spend money here.
It says it would rather comply with a set of standard conditions instead of individual exploration consents which waste time and money.
But exploration is the riskiest stage of oil production. The Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill happened during exploratory drilling and a study of 573 offshore oil blowouts shows 34 percent occurred during exploration.
“The industry themselves says they can't guarantee that we wouldn't see a Gulf of Mexico style oil spill in New Zealand,” Mr Hughes says. “Why on earth would the Government make it a permitted activity and lose all the scrutiny of the consenting process?”
But Ms Adams says the environmental effects will be considered.
“Well it would only be permitted if we were satisfied that it had minimal controllable effects on the environment.”
A total of 99 percent of nearly 12,000 EEZ submissions received by the Government called for deep sea oil drilling to be a prohibited activity.
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24/10/2012 6:24:54 a.m.
Rendall Jack wrote:
A referendum would soon show that most people know the risk far outways the benefits.
I think it is appalling that this government even consider jeoperdising our coastline & tourism industry through greed & against the will of the majority of people in NZ.
Just look at how one container ship has caused no end of problems.
We have the eigth longest coastline of all the world's countries. It is our treasure.
18/10/2012 8:20:55 p.m.
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