Media release: Climate Justice Taranaki questions the cause of Sperm Whale Death

28/05/2018

sperm whale Andy Jackson 28May18 stuff AW track mineral permits collageClimate Justice Taranaki calls for a full investigation on the possible causes of injury and death of the 12 sperm whale discovered along Kaupokonui Beach, South Taranaki, last weekend.

It is extremely upsetting whenever whale stranding and death occurs. We know it is very difficult to determine the causes of mass whale stranding and often there is no definitive answer. But with the increasing human activities in our oceans, we must ask the hard questions of whether we have caused or contributed to their demise. The Tasman Sea has been exceptionally hot this past summer, in places more than six degrees Celsius above normal, with cascading impacts on food webs.

There is also ample research that demonstrates direct and indirect harm on marine mammals from seismic testing. Here, we had the world’s largest seismic testing ship, the Amazon Warrior, blasting off Taranaki from north of Mokau to Whanganui for three months, till around the end of March. Could the seismic blasting have injured the whales, displaced them from their feeding grounds or weakened them by added stress?” Dr Lyndon DeVantier, member of Climate Justice Taranaki.

The whales’ bodies were reportedly too decomposed for necropsies, indicating that they likely died at sea en masse. We want a detailed investigation on the possible causes of the tragic death of the whales.

With the government’s recent decision of allowing existing petroleum exploration and mining permits to continue, there will be increased impacts on marine species and ecosystems from seismic blasting and drilling for oil and gas. The Malaysian based Tamarind Taranaki Ltd has already applied for permits to drill new side track wells at the Tui oil field and discharge harmful substances at sea. We encourage everyone who
cares about our marine environment and climate to submit to the EPA in opposition to Tamarind’s applications,” said Catherine Cheung, member of Climate Justice Taranaki.

Graphics: Photo of dead sperm whales at Kaupokonui Beach by Andy Jackson / Stuff 27May2018; Track of Amazon Warrior as of 24Jan2018; Mineral mining permits from NZPAM website.

Media coverage:

Whale stranding unites Taranaki hapu, Maori TV 28 May 2018

Climate Justice whale stranding story, Maori TV 29 May 2018

Harsh conditions for workers as another dead whale washes up, Taranaki Daily News 28 May 2018

‘Extremely unlikely’ seismic surveying linked to death of 12 sperm whales, Stuff national 29 May 2018

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MEDIA ADVISORY: Climate Justice Taranaki regrets EPA drilling decision

16/01/2018

“We are deeply disappointed by the Environmental Protection Authority’s decision to grant Shell consents to 2050 for the use of a jack-up rig and discharge of harmful contaminants off the Taranaki coast.

“As we stressed repeatedly at various hearings, cumulative effects from the proposed and existing activities have not been assessed properly. The way applications are assessed in isolation, with no regards to the total harm and consequence on the environment and marine species, is ludicrous.  You can’t keep adding stress to the system and expect it to be fine! Based on the precautionary principle, the application should have been declined” says Catherine Cheung, researcher of Climate Justice Taranaki.

“We are supposed to protect the environment, the marine life and the climate. Drilling for more fossil fuels is the last thing this or future generations need.  Future generations will look back at this time in disbelief as to why we keep putting the future environmental stability of this planet at risk for short-term monetary gain.

Climate change is a reality now. The time for action was three decades ago. So why does the EPA have its head stuck in the sand?  Our group will continue to organise on the front-lines of climate change for a just transition towards an ecological sustainable society” concludes Urs Signer, spokesperson of Climate Justice Taranaki.
Media coverage:
EPA ignores wide picture in Taranaki oil consent (Waatea news, 19Jan18)

Press Release: At Shell-EPA hearing Climate Justice Taranaki urge for no more drilling

02/10/2017

Shell Taranaki Ltd. (formerly STOS) has applied to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) for consents to use a jack-up rig for drilling at the Maui gas field and to discharge harmful chemicals at sea.

At the public hearings in New Plymouth, Climate Justice Taranaki will ask that the applications be declined. Read the rest of this entry »


Press Release: Multiple risks ignored in proposed new airport terminal – New Plymouth

15/05/2017

The New Plymouth District Council proposes to borrow close to $30 million on a new, larger airport terminal with a unique cultural design. Climate Justice Taranaki Inc. raises serious questions about the risk assessment and business case behind the proposal.

IMG_20160915_091250 airport rig LR CJT

I was gobsmacked when I arrived at the airport, and there was a huge drill rig right there in front of the café. It was last September. It was apparently there to plug old wells.

There is no relief in thinking that the airport wells are not producing and are therefore safe. In fact, the likelihood of an abandoned well leaking increases over time. The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has made it clear that once a well is abandoned and ‘signed off’, any leaks or other problems become the responsibility of the landowner,” said Catherine Cheung, Researcher of Climate Justice Taranaki Inc..

The danger of oil and gas activities, whether it is current or historic, is real. Just last month, a Colorado home was blasted to the ground, killing two people. The cause of the explosion was a gas leak from a cut pipeline that’s connected to an old gas well that was recently restarted.

“Did Council take such risks and liability into account when conducting the risk analysis for the new airport terminal? What if an oil company decides to resume drilling, fracking, production or injection activities onsite?  Is Council certain that the health and safety risks associated with the increase in aviation and passenger traffic that they hope will follow, are justified or manageable?” Cheung asked.

Currently in the New Plymouth District Plan, there are no rules specifying the minimum separation distances required between hazardous facilities like wellsites and sensitive landuse like schools and airports where people congregate.

The South Taranaki District Council, under pressure from the oil companies, dropped all the specified setback requirements, despite Taranaki Energy Watch’s expert witnesses arguing strongly for minimum setbacks based on analysis of effects and risks to human health, property and the environment.

We are gutted that NPDC has joined the oil companies and Stratford District Council in opposition to Taranaki Energy Watch’s appeal on STDC’s decisions. We expect Council to care for our health and safety, not to ally with oil companies when considering rules that could potentially jeopardise people’s lives,” Cheung said.

There are other risks that Council must evaluate when considering the airport expansion – the impacts of climate change and the associated extreme weather events and sea level rise.

There is no doubt that coastal hazards are increasing over time. The Environment Commissioner has warned that even a small amount of sea level rise will substantially exacerbate the costs of flooding and storm surges. When risks become uneconomic, an asset like the airport could become ‘uninsurable’. Council’s business case on the proposed airport expansion totally ignores climate change and the financial risks and liability associated with it,” Cheung concluded.

Climate Justice Taranaki’s submission to NPDC re the proposed new airport terminal is here: https://climatejusticetaranaki.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/cjt-submission-on-npdc-annual-plan-re-airport-expansion-and-water-rates-final.pdf

Media:

Risks ignored in proposed new airport terminal (Opunake & Coastal News, 26 May 2017 p.16)

New Plymouth airport upgrade given the go ahead (Taranaki Daily News, 7 Jun 2017)

Debate after New Plymouth airport upgrade triples in cost (Radio NZ, 7 Jun 2017)


Exploitative verses sharing economy

05/05/2017

blasted home colorado 9News phosphate sharing combined

Photos: Explosion at a Colorado home on 1 May 2017 (photo 9News); Phosphate mining in Western Sahara (photo AFP); Sharing economy infographics

On 17th April, a home in Colorado was blasted to the ground, killing two people. The home was 178 feet (54 metres) from a recently restarted old gas well operated by Anadarko. The cause of the explosion: gas leak from a cut flow line off the gas well.

Such a loss is both terrible and preventable.  Many questions need to be answered: Read the rest of this entry »


Press release: CJT call for independent investigation on the risks of extreme weather and earthquakes on aging oil and gas infrastructure

25/11/2016
maari_platform-image-source-caprari

Source: Caprari

Climate Justice Taranaki says an independent investigation is critical to determine the cause and extent of damage on the OMV Maari oil platform and associated infrastructure, and to assess the risks of aging oil and gas installations failing.

Wild weather and heightened earthquake risk have prompted OMV to evacuate its staff off the Maari oil platform where a crack was discovered during a scheduled underwater check. Read the rest of this entry »


Victories, Resistance and Determination

04/09/2016

Victoria ban fracking Greenleft 31Aug16 collage for cjt blog 4sep2016

The last few weeks and months have seen a series of encouraging wins on the environmental front: Read the rest of this entry »