Climate Justice Taranaki (CJT) is delighted that the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, is launching an official investigation into the environmental impacts of fracking. “We hope the inquiry will use independent research not that from the petroleum industry and their contractors. A country-wide moratorium however needs to be put in place now until the Commissioner’s report is tabled later this year,” says member of Climate Justice Taranaki, Teresa Goodin.
After a nation-wide petition signed by several thousand people, over six hundred letters from CJT’s online petition, requests from several community boards and about five councils, Dr Wright said today the preliminary work indicated there is a need to examine the issue more closely. She says “the work that has been done by my office thus far shows a substantive case for an official investigation under the Environment Act.”
Climate Justice Taranaki first called for a ban on fracking over a year ago because of concerns around possible contamination of the environment causing health problems for humans and other animals. Research from community members and CJT in this time found that fracking was being allowed without a consent and that indeed contamination did occur at several sites in Taranaki where we are now finding high incidences of cancer and Multiple Schlerosis.
While TRC now require consents for drilling and the Commissioner’s inquiry has the go ahead, we still need to stop the fracking going on right now. TRC has issued at least six non-notified consents associated with fracking since August 2011, including one for the ‘combustion of returned hydraulic fracturing fluids’ at the Kowhai-B wellsite issued to Greymouth Petroleum last month. 39 of the 46 ‘fracturing products’ included in TRC’s risk assessment report, are classified Hazardous, i.e. flammable, corrosive, oxidizing, acutely toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic and/or ecotoxic.
“So we call on the Taranaki Regional Council to refuse and revoke any resource consents related to fracking or dumping of frack waste immediately. The public have been locked out of the debate for too long because of non-notifiable consents and now we find our communities are in danger so we want a say.” said Goodin.
Numerous countries have moratoria in place and various District Councils across New Zealand as well as the Egmont Plains Community Board in South Taranaki are calling for a moratorium because of growing public opposition to fracking.
“The Taranaki Regional Council needs to admit that reports based on the petroleum companies’ own data are simply not good enough. Fracking has already caused too much damage in Taranaki – it’s time to stop. Let’s support sustainable energy production instead.” concluded Ms Goodin.