STOS drilling permit reckless

“It is aFeatured image real disappointment that the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) decided to grant Shell-Todd Oil Services (STOS) the full 35 years consent for more drilling, extraction, dumping and other damaging activities at the Maui gas field off the Taranaki coast” says Emily Bailey, member of Climate Justice Taranaki. “To allow more drilling from the aging wells – many of which have already passed their ‘best before’ dates – is reckless. Despite our detailed submission, the EPA did not insist on a bond that would ensure that wells are maintained, suspended and abandoned in a safe manner. There is also no condition requiring a decommissioning plan or liability insurance should something go seriously wrong.” “Ironically, this announcement came on World Environment Day (5 June) when we should be celebrating and doing something positive for the environment. Yet on this day, we are reminded yet again of the brutal reality of corporate power over-riding government decisions and basic logic.” “Indeed any logical mind would question: ‘How could the continuation of fossil fuel extraction for decades possibly safeguard the life-supporting capacity of the environment?’ Yet the EPA argued, ‘there was no credible evidence from submitters that granting the application would not safeguard the life-supporting capacity.’ Shouldn’t the onus of proving that there would be no harm rest with the applicant?” “The decision came in the wake of international news warning the imminent extinction of the Maui’s Dolphin as its population dwindled down to just 43-47 individuals. To say that the adverse effects of STOS’ activities on the environment will be ‘negligible to minor’, as the EPA has declared, is to ignore New Zealand’s international obligations to protect and aid the recovery of endangered species, and to deny future generations the opportunities to appreciate the wonders of nature.” “Just weeks ago, 1700 people turned up to public meetings across the country to criticise the government’s meagre emission reduction targets and the lack of real policy or actions to achieve them. The fact is public pressure on climate change is mounting and fossil fuel divestment is spreading. Just how long can the government continue to ignore it?” “Costly floods, droughts and super storms are going to be this generation’s legacy unless we stop burning fossil fuels and create a just and sustainable  future for all” concludes Emily Bailey.

Related media:

Plan to appeal Maui gas field decision (Radio NZ, 6 Jun 2015)

Maui oil and gas field gains 35-year operating consent (NZ Herald, 5 Jun 2015)

Maui gas gets green light for 35 years  (TDN, 5 Jun 2015)

Change in economic fortunes for Taranaki starting to hit home (TDN, 6 Jun 2015)– “… The drop in the international oil price, coupled with the halving of the milk price and associated cuts to dairy pay-outs to farmers has created a “perfect storm” for Taranaki’s economy… a wider regional conversation was needed to come up with ideas about what could be done to resuscitate Taranaki’s economy and that any decisions made needed to be realistic and sustainable. That means they cannot be reliant on any potential  bounce-back in the oil and gas sector.  “I think there are a lot of people  with their heads in the sand that these sorts of downturns are cyclic,” …he is not confident this downturn will have its expected upswing. “We have to be doing something different….” Ice gas could be huge for NZ, Shell boss (1 April 2015)

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