Climate Justice Taranaki wants the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to hold public hearings on OMV’s exploratory drilling consent application and jointly process it with all related applications.
OMV plans to drill 12 offshore wells across six licensed areas in the Taranaki Basin. Because the wells are of exploratory and appraisal nature, the marine consent application for the drilling will not be notified and there will be no opportunity for public submissions.
The EPA has however notified the public of OMV’s application to discharge harmful substances from the deck drains of a yet to be identified drilling rig. Public submissions close on the 9th July.
“We are asking EPA to defer the processing of the discharge consent so that it can be assessed jointly with the drilling and other related applications. It is impossible to assess the cumulative effects of all the drilling and discharge activities on the environment, marine species, human health and existing interests, if the applications are dealt with separately. The law requires consideration of cumulative effects and allows for joint processing of related applications,” said Catherine Cheung of Climate Justice Taranaki.
“We are not talking about one of two wells. We are talking about the risks and potentially disastrous consequence from drilling 12 wells and from the discharge of undetermined quantities of undisclosed harmful substances at sea. Only one of the 12 wells will be drilled in a known, producing field, the Maari,” Cheung emphasized.
“International experience has demonstrated that there can be devastating environmental and socio-economic impacts across huge areas from exploratory drilling. New Zealand does not have sufficient on-site resources to cope rapidly with a major incident, which could impact much of the west coast of the North Island and the top of the South Island, encompassing globally significant marine mammal and seabird habitats,” said Dr Lyndon DeVantier of Climate Justice Taranaki.
“The EEZ and Continental Shelf Act section 44 allows EPA to extend the time period to enable joint processing and decision-making of related applications. Section 50(2) and Schedule 2 allow EPA to conduct hearings of applications for non-notified activities in public, if it ‘considers it necessary or desirable’. We certainly think it is necessary, given the scale and significance of the applications,” concluded Cheung.
No hearing for offshore wells, Waatea News, 2 July 2018
Climate Justice Taranaki seeks changes to oil and gas consent application process, Taranaki Daily News, 3 July 2018