The Bill to amend the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf Act 2012 (EEZ Act) tabled by the Minister for Environment this morning is a clear statement that the government is working for foreign corporations rather than New Zealanders.
Minister Smith called it an error (a loophole) that must be fixed “to remove any uncertainty on the capacity for STOS to operate the Maui platform.”
“But it’s not an error and there is no loophole! The EEZ Act gives plenty of leeway through its transitional provisions and by allowing existing activities to continue for the term of their permits while marine consents are sought. STOS has always known when its permit (since 1973) is going to expire and it’s had three years to prepare for their marine consent application (since the EEZ Act was passed). If they can’t get their act together or there are sufficient oppositions to cause delays through legal appeals, then they should accept the consequence. There is no reason for the government to bend over backwards and change the law for them,” said Urs Signer of Climate Justice Taranaki.
“Let’s not forget the ‘Anadarko Amendment’ which prohibits protest at sea within 500 m from a drill rig was a direct result of industry lobbying. And last October, STOS was found to have drilled two wells at Maui illegally, breaching the EEZ Act. Smith, the then Environment Minister defended the company with ‘argy-bargy’ at the time!” continued Signer.
When Climate Justice Taranaki and members of the public asked EPA to extend the public submission periods for OMV’s marine consent application, they were declined bluntly. On the contrary, EPA agreed to OMV’s request for more time to prepare missing information needed in the impact assessment and for its Discharge Management Plan (DMP) to be kept away from the public. Similarly, STOS has asked for a delay in hearing and for most of its DMP to be kept confidential.
“When is the government going to turn around and start serving New Zealanders and protecting our environment and natural resources? The era of fossil fuel dependence is over as global and local institutions from the Rockefeller Brothers’ Fund to churches and universities are divesting billions of dollars. New Zealanders, wake up, divest from fossil fuels and invest in alternatives. We deserve a more just, healthy and sustainable future for all,” concluded Catherine Cheung of Climate Justice Taranaki
Photo from EPA website: http://www.epa.govt.nz/EEZ/stos/Pages/default_STOS.aspx