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.

Shell has not done any proper assessment of the cumulative effects on the environment and viability of threatened species, should the proposals get approved. Shell’s analysis has been far too narrow,” said Catherine Cheung, member of Climate Justice Taranaki.

Kaschner et al 2011 marine mammal hotspots

“It turns out South Taranaki Bight is a global diversity hotspot for marine mammals, one of the two richest such places on earth. As a party to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD), New Zealand has a clear international obligation to protect these species. Yet we are not treating the area with the respect it deserves, more like a sacrificial zone,” added marine scientist Dr. Lyndon DeVantier.

There are at least seven threatened marine mammal species in South Taranaki Bight, six of which are endangered, including the Maui dolphin and blue whale. These are increasingly impacted by a wide array of human activities there, from fishing to maritime traffic, oil and gas seismic surveys, drilling and waste discharge, and now EPA has also decided to allow seabed mining.

Slooten cumulative effects on marine mammal 2017

 “All this is on top of the rapid changes to the ecosystem being driven by climate change, causing increasing sea temperatures, ocean acidification and related impacts on productivity. The science tells us that these will all get worse in coming decades, not better, and any additional impacts, including from what Shell proposes, could push these already threatened species over the edge. It certainly won’t help them to recover, which is what we are supposed to be doing,” Dr DeVantier continued.

We are at the tipping point of a major climate catastrophe, yet the EEZ Act and the RMA do not allow the consideration of climate change in decision making. This is absurd.  The law must, and ultimately will change. In the meantime, communities are rising up against fossil fuel mining, like the farming village of Bentley in the Northern Rivers of Australia,” said Cheung.

This successful resistance is documented in the movie ‘The Bentley Effect’, presently touring New Zealand. Details of local screenings in Taranaki (2-3 Oct), Whanganui, Palmeston North, Wellington and the South Island are available here.

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Media coverage:

EPA hearing into Maui jack-up rig begins (Taranaki Daily News, 2 Oct 2017)

Submissions against Shell drilling to be heard (Newstalk ZB, 3 Oct 2017)

The Bentley Effect (Radio NZ, 3 Oct 2017)

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Media release: STOS oil drilling must stop

20/06/2017

Climate Justice Taranaki are calling on submitters to once again tell Shell Todd Oil Services(STOS)to stop drilling for oil and gas in the South Taranaki Bight – home and feeding ground to many marine mammals including the Maui’s dolphin and the Blue Whale. A submission form is available on their website at http://www.climatejusticetaranaki.info/stop-stos

At 5pm Monday 19 June submissions close on STOS’ consent applications to bring in a jack-up rig to the Maui gas platforms that will drill 22 more wells and discharge harmful substances at sea. STOS says it is too early to tell the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and the public what chemicals will be discharged. EEZ law, under which EPA acts, cannot stop incomplete consent applications.

“These companies are not seeing the writing on the wall. To be straight up the government and fossil fuel companies just need to be told again and again that the fossil fuel age is over and climate change must be considered. The oil and gas industry is a dying industry that’s taking the whole planet with it” says Climate Justice spokesperson Emily Bailey.

STOS will later apply for an additional marine discharge consent to cover other harmful substance discharges – the public will not be notified on this. “They are plying the old ploy of gaining consent bit by bit so a proper assessment of cumulative impacts cannot be made. This approach makes it harder to turn down new consents once existing ones are granted. What makes it worse, is just this week laws on marine discharge consenting were repealed leaving gaping holes in legislation just when we need them most” said Bailey.

STOS still haven’t confirmed what rig they may use – which vary a lot in size, range and disturbance of the seabed. They haven’t confirmed what operational and drilling chemicals they will use, many of which can be eco-toxins, biocides or carcinogens. STOS should be ashamed. This is consent by stealth. A company that damages the planet with its product and at all stages of its operations should no longer be able to operate in this day and age. It’s time for the fossil fool industry to move on” said Bailey.

A consent was granted in 2015 for STOS to re-drill wells in the Maui field for another 35 years despite the company admitting that they don’t expect more than 20 years of production. Shell has started to sell their NZ assets but there is no culturally and environmentally acceptable decommissioning plan for these sites nor sufficient insurance in place for any major accidents.

It is a well-known scientific fact that to avert runaway climate change we must stop extracting fossil fuels now. We have renewable technologies and sustainable agriculture methods to replace fossil fuels. The industry is getting more desperate. We should give them the final boot rather than putting our very future at risk by bending legislation to suit them and being left to clean up their mess when the waning boom hits bust” concluded Bailey.

Media coverage:

Climate Justice spokesperson Emily Bailey, Waatea News 19 June 2017


People’s Climate Rally a Success

25/03/2017
GP climate rally OFW system change collage LR

Photos by Jeremy Gould, 22 March 2017

Thank you for everybody who came to the Rally. With your help, we have shaken the industry and sparked a change in attitude, evident in the numerous media stories below:

Protesters had the better of day one at New Zealand Petroleum Conference 2017, Stuff business, 22 March 17

Protesters blockade oil conference in Taranaki, Maori TV, 22 March 17

Taranaki tangata whenua backing oil protests, Waatea News, 23 March 17

NZ Petroleum Conference opens to protesters, NZ Herald, 22 March 17

Government hopes for more oil and gas exploration, Radio NZ, 22 March 17

Petroleum conference to return to New Plymouth despite hundreds of protesters derailing first day, Stuff business, 23 March 17

The slow demise or temporary slump of New Zealand’s oil and gas industry, Stuff Business, 24 March 17

NZ anti-oil haka being watched around the world, Stuff National, 1 April 17


Media Release: Climate Justice Taranaki seek oil/gas prohibition in sensitive areas to protect human health and safety

21/06/2016

This morning, Climate Justice Taranaki spoke at the Proposed South Taranaki District Plan hearings. Below were our key points:

Hundreds of scientific studies concerning oil and gas development have been conducted internationally in recent years. A vast majority (84 percent) of such research has revealed signs of health impacts on nearby communities. Notably, a detailed study in Colorado concluded that residents living within 800m from gas wells were subject to almost twice the cancer risk than those living beyond 800m. Read the rest of this entry »


ECO group wants oil, gas left alone

02/02/2015

McKee ECO GatheringFrom the Taranaki Daily News – 1st February 2015 – by Brad Roberts Read the rest of this entry »


Government sticks head in sand

31/12/2014

Taranaki Daily News actually criticises the government on NZ’s poor international climate polluting ranking. Read their editorial 18 December 2014 here:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/opinion/64266246/Government-stick

heads in the sand


Media Coverage: Oil / Gas Expo Protest, New Plymouth 22 Oct 2014

23/10/2014

oil gas expo protest combined2 22Oct2014We had an awesome protest yesterday, outside the Oil and Gas Expo venue in New Plymouth. A big thanks to all those who came in support. Read the rest of this entry »