Prosecute Shell for drilling illegally off Taranaki

What shocking news!  Oil giant Shell has been caught drilling two wells offshore without a marine consent, blatantly breaching NZ’s EEZ Act!

It’s even more shocking to hear Environment Minister Nick Smith said “it is inevitable with a brand new law .. that there’s a bit of argy-bargy what is or is outside the law.” Now is he the Environment Minister or Corporate Minister?

Wait a minute, didn’t Shell make a “backroom deal” with the government to ban protestors at sea – the controversial “Anadarko Amendment“? And they’re now saying they’ve misinterpreted the law at sea?

Greenpeace’s Nathan Argent put it well, “if we are to take Shell at their word – that they didn’t know the rules – then the simple response is that they should not be risking our oceans in the first place“.

If it is not “cowboy behaviour” as Greens’ Russel Norman of the Greens described, what is it?

Remember this is also the same company that wants to drill both in the dangerous, icy extremes of the Arctic and deep in our waters off the coast of Otago. “Such a relaxed, willfully ignorant attitude to regulations in such difficult, hazardous environments is how accidents happen”, Argent reiterated.

What we want is EPA to prosecute Shell, to show the industry that such cowboy behaviour and any flouting of the law is not tolerated.
Meanwhile Schlumberger, described as the world’s largest oilfield servicing company, has applied for a prospecting permit to survey 440,000 square kilometres of seabed in the Great Southern Basin – an area almost twice the size of NZ’s total land area. The threats to our marine mammals will be enormous, not to mention the impacts on climate change, should “profitable” oil and gas are found.
It is madness to be looking for more fossil fuels when we should be investing in safe climate through reduction in energy use, supporting renewable energy and building resilient, sustainable communities. We need a whole system change, not climate change, now!
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