Media release: Drilling near Norfolk school threatens community health and safety

26/05/2014
Oversized trucks on Inland North Road near Tikorangi school (photo by Fiona Clark, June 2013)

Oversized trucks on Inland North Road near Tikorangi school (photo by Fiona Clark, June 2013)

Climate Justice Taranaki is extremely concerned about Tag Oil’s plan to drill for oil and gas less than 700 metres from Norfolk School. Despite the close proximity to the proposed wellsite, Norfolk School is currently not considered an ‘affected party’ by New Plymouth District Council.

“Peer-reviewed health studies in the USA have demonstrated increased cancer and other health risks among residents living within 800 metres of gas wells; and links between human birth defects and the density and proximity of gas wells, for up to 16 km radius. We are appalled by the company’s and council’s apparent lack of concern for community safety, particularly involving school children, parents and teachers.” said Catherine Cheung, Climate Justice Taranaki.

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Media highlights (1-31 May 2014)

06/05/2014

Taranaki oil wells declining  (stuff business, 31 May) – “Production by Canadian-based oil company New Zealand Energy Corp has fallen in the past year as the amount of oil from some Taranaki wells declines….”

Tag Oil tracking well in East Coast  (Hawkes Bay Today, 27 May)

Tag to drill for oil close to school  (TDN, 27 May)

Taranaki primary school worried about nearby oil exploration  (Radio NZ, 26 May) – Listen to this!

Gas project firing up  (TDN, 19 May) – “The deal, struck in 2012, meant Todd Energy could build the facility which would allow it to supply Methanex with gas, in turn allowing the Canadian methanol producer to restart the second manufacturing plant at its Motunui facility and its smaller Waitara Valley plant. The deal was good news for Port Taranaki and its owner the Taranaki Regional Council….”

Automated rig joins search for Maui gas  (TDN, 19 May) – “The first sidetrack well was an extended reach well – 5000m from the Maui A platform and 6000m in length – the longest ever drilled from the platform. Because of the length of the well, aluminium pipe had been used instead of traditional steel… ”

Metgasco’s Bentley gas drilling suspended, referred to ICAC  (Sydney Morning Herald, 15 May)

We’re Not Banking on Cleantech (Oil Free Wellington) – response to the Green Party’s ‘Green Investment Bank’

Control methane now, greenhouse gas expert warns  (Science Daily, 14 May)

Otago takes ethical stance on climate (Radio NZ, 14 May) – “The Dunedin City Council has decided to dump about $2 million worth of investments in the oil industry because of concerns over the potential effects on climate change.”  What an enlightened council!  Let’s write to our various councils and ask that they follow Otago’s step away from fossil fuel investments. New Plymouth District Council is currently running a community engagement programme “Shaping our future together” – a good channel to talk to the major about ethical investment and other issues.

Woman challenges council on oil and gas (TDN, 8 May)  – Oil Free Otago mentioned

Tag lines up Gisborne well (Stuff Business, 7 May)

Council adopts annual plan, rates rise set (TDN, 6 May) – CJT mentioned

Mayor wants economic benefits if mining starts (TDN, 1 May) – “Environmental activist Urs Signer said it saddened him the region was again being used for a quick buck with no benefits. He wanted economic development based on justice not destruction, he said.”