Press Release: Double the Refugee Quota

31/07/2017
climate refugee unhcr 4b227c546

Photo source: UNHCR

Climate Justice Taranaki welcomes Murdoch Stephens from the Doing Our Bit campaign to New Plymouth. The campaign demands an immediate doubling of New Zealand’s refugee quota and doubling of support funding to help new refugees.

On his national tour, Mr Stephens speaks on the evolving refugee crisis over the last year, what New Zealand’s policies are – including the new community sponsorship model – and how local communities can get involved.

In New Plymouth, Emily Bailey and Urs Signer of Climate Justice Taranaki will facilitate the event, and speak to the issue from a local perspective, with particular emphasis on displacement and colonisation in Taranaki.

As more climate refugees flee rising sea levels, droughts, floods, pestilence, habitat collapse and resource wars we all need to do our bit to provide them sanctuary. Come along to hear Murdoch this Wednesday August 2nd 6pm at the Fitzroy Surf Lifesaving Club in New Plymouth,” said Ms Bailey.


Media release: STOS oil drilling must stop

20/06/2017

Climate Justice Taranaki are calling on submitters to once again tell Shell Todd Oil Services(STOS)to stop drilling for oil and gas in the South Taranaki Bight – home and feeding ground to many marine mammals including the Maui’s dolphin and the Blue Whale. A submission form is available on their website at http://www.climatejusticetaranaki.info/stop-stos

At 5pm Monday 19 June submissions close on STOS’ consent applications to bring in a jack-up rig to the Maui gas platforms that will drill 22 more wells and discharge harmful substances at sea. STOS says it is too early to tell the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and the public what chemicals will be discharged. EEZ law, under which EPA acts, cannot stop incomplete consent applications.

“These companies are not seeing the writing on the wall. To be straight up the government and fossil fuel companies just need to be told again and again that the fossil fuel age is over and climate change must be considered. The oil and gas industry is a dying industry that’s taking the whole planet with it” says Climate Justice spokesperson Emily Bailey.

STOS will later apply for an additional marine discharge consent to cover other harmful substance discharges – the public will not be notified on this. “They are plying the old ploy of gaining consent bit by bit so a proper assessment of cumulative impacts cannot be made. This approach makes it harder to turn down new consents once existing ones are granted. What makes it worse, is just this week laws on marine discharge consenting were repealed leaving gaping holes in legislation just when we need them most” said Bailey.

STOS still haven’t confirmed what rig they may use – which vary a lot in size, range and disturbance of the seabed. They haven’t confirmed what operational and drilling chemicals they will use, many of which can be eco-toxins, biocides or carcinogens. STOS should be ashamed. This is consent by stealth. A company that damages the planet with its product and at all stages of its operations should no longer be able to operate in this day and age. It’s time for the fossil fool industry to move on” said Bailey.

A consent was granted in 2015 for STOS to re-drill wells in the Maui field for another 35 years despite the company admitting that they don’t expect more than 20 years of production. Shell has started to sell their NZ assets but there is no culturally and environmentally acceptable decommissioning plan for these sites nor sufficient insurance in place for any major accidents.

It is a well-known scientific fact that to avert runaway climate change we must stop extracting fossil fuels now. We have renewable technologies and sustainable agriculture methods to replace fossil fuels. The industry is getting more desperate. We should give them the final boot rather than putting our very future at risk by bending legislation to suit them and being left to clean up their mess when the waning boom hits bust” concluded Bailey.

Media coverage:

Climate Justice spokesperson Emily Bailey, Waatea News 19 June 2017


Press Release: Multiple risks ignored in proposed new airport terminal – New Plymouth

15/05/2017

The New Plymouth District Council proposes to borrow close to $30 million on a new, larger airport terminal with a unique cultural design. Climate Justice Taranaki Inc. raises serious questions about the risk assessment and business case behind the proposal.

IMG_20160915_091250 airport rig LR CJT

I was gobsmacked when I arrived at the airport, and there was a huge drill rig right there in front of the café. It was last September. It was apparently there to plug old wells.

There is no relief in thinking that the airport wells are not producing and are therefore safe. In fact, the likelihood of an abandoned well leaking increases over time. The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has made it clear that once a well is abandoned and ‘signed off’, any leaks or other problems become the responsibility of the landowner,” said Catherine Cheung, Researcher of Climate Justice Taranaki Inc..

The danger of oil and gas activities, whether it is current or historic, is real. Just last month, a Colorado home was blasted to the ground, killing two people. The cause of the explosion was a gas leak from a cut pipeline that’s connected to an old gas well that was recently restarted.

“Did Council take such risks and liability into account when conducting the risk analysis for the new airport terminal? What if an oil company decides to resume drilling, fracking, production or injection activities onsite?  Is Council certain that the health and safety risks associated with the increase in aviation and passenger traffic that they hope will follow, are justified or manageable?” Cheung asked.

Currently in the New Plymouth District Plan, there are no rules specifying the minimum separation distances required between hazardous facilities like wellsites and sensitive landuse like schools and airports where people congregate.

The South Taranaki District Council, under pressure from the oil companies, dropped all the specified setback requirements, despite Taranaki Energy Watch’s expert witnesses arguing strongly for minimum setbacks based on analysis of effects and risks to human health, property and the environment.

We are gutted that NPDC has joined the oil companies and Stratford District Council in opposition to Taranaki Energy Watch’s appeal on STDC’s decisions. We expect Council to care for our health and safety, not to ally with oil companies when considering rules that could potentially jeopardise people’s lives,” Cheung said.

There are other risks that Council must evaluate when considering the airport expansion – the impacts of climate change and the associated extreme weather events and sea level rise.

There is no doubt that coastal hazards are increasing over time. The Environment Commissioner has warned that even a small amount of sea level rise will substantially exacerbate the costs of flooding and storm surges. When risks become uneconomic, an asset like the airport could become ‘uninsurable’. Council’s business case on the proposed airport expansion totally ignores climate change and the financial risks and liability associated with it,” Cheung concluded.

Climate Justice Taranaki’s submission to NPDC re the proposed new airport terminal is here: https://climatejusticetaranaki.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/cjt-submission-on-npdc-annual-plan-re-airport-expansion-and-water-rates-final.pdf

Media:

Risks ignored in proposed new airport terminal (Opunake & Coastal News, 26 May 2017 p.16)

New Plymouth airport upgrade given the go ahead (Taranaki Daily News, 7 Jun 2017)

Debate after New Plymouth airport upgrade triples in cost (Radio NZ, 7 Jun 2017)


Exploitative verses sharing economy

05/05/2017

blasted home colorado 9News phosphate sharing combined

Photos: Explosion at a Colorado home on 1 May 2017 (photo 9News); Phosphate mining in Western Sahara (photo AFP); Sharing economy infographics

On 17th April, a home in Colorado was blasted to the ground, killing two people. The home was 178 feet (54 metres) from a recently restarted old gas well operated by Anadarko. The cause of the explosion: gas leak from a cut flow line off the gas well.

Such a loss is both terrible and preventable.  Many questions need to be answered: Read the rest of this entry »


Fewer cows, cleaner water & safer climate

28/04/2017

Today we told the government what we think about its ‘Clean Water‘ document:

  • Rivers that are ‘suitable for swimming more than 80% of the time‘ are not swimmable
  • The shift of E.coli guideline to 540 per 100 mls is unacceptable
  • All rivers and lakes where communities use or seek to use for recreation should be included for improvement, not just ‘large’ ones
  • Residues of pesticides and hydrocarbons need to be included as additional attributes for determining ecological and human health risks of waterways
  • The life-supporting capacity of our waterways and the rights of communities and future generations to adequate and clean water must not be compromised by so-called economic arguments
  • National bottom lines for freshwater must not be breached because of polluting infrastructure
  • Support, not penalize, tangata whenua efforts in protecting the health of our waterways
  • Exclude stock from waterways, reduce stock number and halt further dairy conversion for the sake of clean water, ecosystem health and livable climate
  • Honour Te Mana o te Wai and invest in responsible and sustainable alternatives

Read our submission here with the case of the Waitara River.

Waitara warning signs combined April 2017 Janice Liddle

Photos courtesy of Friends of the Waitara River, April 2017

 


From Day of Solutions to Climate Declaration, Zero Carbon Act & Community Korero

19/04/2017

oil, protest, greenpeace

The Peoples’ Climate Rally did not end with the blockade which was in itself a success. It was followed by a Day of Solutions featuring a popular electric vehicle display at the Huatoki Plaza where EV enthusiasts shared their knowledge and tips with the public the whole day long. Alongside the EV show in a public hall, committed researchers,  campaigners and businesses presented a series of informative and inspiring talks on topics from petroleum politics  to renewable energy technology, sustainable energy research at Parihaka Papakainga, Our Climate Declaration and a public forum on just transition from fossil fuels… Notably Our Climate Declaration calls on all of us to:

  • Stop the bad stuff
  • Bring on the good, and
  • Pressure government…

Last week, Generation Zero launched their blueprint for a Zero Carbon Act and is calling for cross-party support. The proposed Zero Carbon Act will require future governments to set five year ‘carbon budgets’ on track to the zero carbon target, set up an independent Climate Commission, conduct a National Climate Risk Assessment, a climate change adaptation programme, and transparent planning and reporting on New Zealand’s contributions to climate action in other countries.

Next Thur 27th April, Tu Tama Wahine o Taranaki is hosting a community korero titled Climate Change Impacts and Implications for Taranaki. All are welcome.

Indeed ‘to change everything, we need everyone’, as Naomi Klein said in her book. Together we are creating a brighter future everyday!

Photos: Participants of the Peoples’ Climate Rally at Owae Marae, by Jeremy Gould;  Electric vehicle show on Day of Solutions, by Donald Love, 23 March 2017


People’s Climate Rally a Success

25/03/2017
GP climate rally OFW system change collage LR

Photos by Jeremy Gould, 22 March 2017

Thank you for everybody who came to the Rally. With your help, we have shaken the industry and sparked a change in attitude, evident in the numerous media stories below:

Protesters had the better of day one at New Zealand Petroleum Conference 2017, Stuff business, 22 March 17

Protesters blockade oil conference in Taranaki, Maori TV, 22 March 17

Taranaki tangata whenua backing oil protests, Waatea News, 23 March 17

NZ Petroleum Conference opens to protesters, NZ Herald, 22 March 17

Government hopes for more oil and gas exploration, Radio NZ, 22 March 17

Petroleum conference to return to New Plymouth despite hundreds of protesters derailing first day, Stuff business, 23 March 17

The slow demise or temporary slump of New Zealand’s oil and gas industry, Stuff Business, 24 March 17

NZ anti-oil haka being watched around the world, Stuff National, 1 April 17