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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Press release: Vote for a realistic future

19/09/2017

renewable energy art fmj co uk

“Last week China joined the growing list of countries banning the import and construction of combustion engines. The next day a report came out on research showing NZ’s gas supply will run out in ten years and consumers should reconsider buying gas appliances. This week it’s Avgas supply problems and farmers protesting so-called fart tax and water tax” said Climate Justice Taranaki member Emily Bailey.

“Whoever you vote for this week at least do it with well-researched, independent facts about predictions for our future. Whether we like it or not, the future without fossil fuels is going to be very different. A continuing focus on short term gains driven by market interests, without enough thought for the next generations, will be our demise.”

“The last century and a half has been dominated by an economy largely based on milking cows thanks to cheap fossil fuels. In recent decades, oil and gas boomed and now it’s busting, as predicted. The huge long term costs of these industries are starting to hit home with climate change, polluted waterways and increasing social inequality, yet few seem keen to face this reality.”

“So while in the short term we might want to pay less taxes and not rock the boat, the reality is the boat has run out of fuel and is sinking. We can either pay the price to fix the boat and erect a sail or sink because the lifeboats were sold off long ago.”

“There are dairy farms in New Zealand that have reduced stock numbers and external inputs, substantially reducing their environmental affects while maintaining profit and improving workloads and job satisfaction. These changes are possible but they take a few years of transition and we need an industry behind it to also transition to low-energy production systems and local markets. Relying more on local markets is a huge shift for this country’s economy which has one of the highest export markets in the world. And we can’t all be dairy farmers. The natural environment and local markets need diversity.”

“We also need to start facing the fact that the next generations will not be driving combustion engines. This transition has been made all the more urgent by government reticence to act decisively, and by a culture of denial among the peak industry bodies, still myopically focused on business as usual. How will we maintain vehicles (electric or otherwise) and roads without coal to make steel and oil to fix roads? How will we dehydrate and transport all that milk powder or other produce around the country and overseas to our markets while paying off those huge farm debts?”

“The world is changing and fast. If a sustainable future isn’t your thing then at least vote for a realistic one that is not based on business as usual.”

 

Graphics: http://www.fmj.co.uk/serco-wins-38m-rushmoor-deal/


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


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)


Groups ready to disrupt oil summit in New Plymouth

20/03/2017

PRESS RELEASE FROM PEOPLE’S CLIMATE RALLY COALITION, 20 MARCH 2017

rally poster vlrPeople from all over Aotearoa are gathering in Taranaki from Tuesday to begin The People’s Climate Rally, which aims to blockade the NZ Petroleum Conference at the TSB Showplace.

The annual oil conference has been moved to Taranaki after previously facing escalating protests in Wellington and Auckland, including thousands taking to the streets, and crowds blockading last year’s SkyCity venue.

At the conference this year, the Government will be announcing the 2017 Block Offer for gas and oil exploration.

The People’s Climate Rally spokesperson, Emily Tuhi-Ao Bailey, says the protests will highlight what is going on behind closed doors.

Over half a million square kilometres of land and sea have been put up for grabs for these destructive industries to survey, drill, extract and dump toxic waste into so they can produce materials that are killing the planet,” she says.

Government and corporations have been driving us down a short-term path of resource extraction that benefits the rich while destroying the planet and community. Oil was first drilled here in the 1860s after the land wars began. We have a history of resisting colonisation here in Taranaki, and these oil and gas companies, like their predecessors, will continue to be resisted. 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 »


Media Release: Landfarming – Toxic waste disposal or recycling of rocks, mud and minerals?

20/07/2016
BTW Oeo landfarm incidence 2014 TRC 1280327

Photos from TRC monitoring report on BTW Oeo landfarm, June 2014

Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ) Chief Executive Cameron Madgwick said, “landfarming is nothing more than taking the ground-up rocks, mud and minerals left over from drilling activities and recycling them by placing them underneath the topsoil.

Unfortunately, the facts tell a different story. As Climate Justice Taranaki Inc. (CJT) pointed out at the public hearings on the Proposed South Taranaki District Plan, the euphemistically termed ‘landfarming’ is actually the spreading of contaminated oil/gas wastes on farmland, and mostly on the coast in South Taranaki. Read the rest of this entry »