What’re your views on STOS’ request to restrict public access to essential documents?

EPA is asking for submitters’ views about STOS’ revised application under EEZ s158 to restrict access to the Maui Discharge Management Plan documents. Views must be emailed to EPA STOS.MauiApplication@epa.govt.nz by TODAY 1pm.  Here’s what CJT sent:

“…The Discharge Management Plan, appendices and addendum (DMP documents), with confidential/sensitive information redacted, have already been released electronically by Maritime NZ under an OIA request.

The restriction requested by STOS on submitters to view the DMP documents under supervision at EPA office in Wellington and the hearing venue in New Plymouth places unacceptable prejudice against all submitters, especially those who do not reside in Wellington or New Plymouth. Only 10.9% of submitters reside in Wellington and 14% in Taranaki.

The documents are voluminous and contain complex technical information. It is not reasonable to expect submitters to read the documents under supervision within limited office hours at specific locations, and without the ability to copy any part of them. The vast majority of submitters are going through the lengthy marine consent process on a voluntary basis, and cannot afford time and finance to abide to such unreasonable restrictions.

Maritime New Zealand clearly recognize that matter of public interest outweighs the arguments around the supposed sensitive nature of the document. The redacted version of the documents released by MNZ has already taken out critical confidential/sensitive information. The documents were released without any restrictions on copying or reproduction.

We ask EPA to be consistent with MNZ, by making available the same documents (redacted) already released by MNZ electronically or as hard copies, to any submitters who request it.”

Please send EPA your thoughts this morning!

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