In a recent submission to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE), Climate Justice Taranaki (CJT) has highlighted the complex issues surrounding hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations in New Zealand and their far reaching impacts, should they be allowed to proliferate.
“Instead of providing greater transparency in response to public concerns, the industry has continued to ‘spin’, tell the public half-truths, claim media space, insist on confidentiality agreements with landowners, and buy their so-called ‘social license’ with donations and sponsorships for schools, community groups and public events,” said CJT researcher Catherine Cheung.
Contrary to Todd Energy’s submission, CJT emphasizes the many loopholes in the current regulatory system. The Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO) is certainly not adequate. Alarmingly, companies self-assess and approve the chemicals to be used in fracking, despite the fact that many are known carcinogens and several are deadly in miniscule amounts. As of April 2012, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) had not processed a single application for a substance used in fracking.
TRC’s consenting process remains far from transparent or thorough, allowing the discharge of fracking associated contaminants into the environment, often without full knowledge of the contaminants involved. The recent revelation of radioactive tracers having been used by the oil and gas industry for decades is a case in point. Radioactive tracers are not mentioned once in TRC’s risk assessment report.
CJT asserts that “hydraulic fracturing, through its contribution in maintaining the supply of, and hence our reliance on, fossil fuels, is inherently dangerous.” And “as major scientific authorities and economic studies have demonstrated, continuing down a fossil fuel driven path and delaying the transition onto sustainable energy systems will be much more costly economically.”
CJT’s full submission to the PCE is available for download here.
Read Taranaki Daily News’ coverage on this media release: Energy Industry Hits Back on Buying Friends” claims