Drill report small victory but not good enough
Climate Justice Taranaki (CJT) reaffirms its call for an end to fracking and issuance of any new oil and gas permits.
The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s report supports CJT’s view that the regulatory and management regime here requires major reform, and that the great environmental issue with fossil fuel development is climate change.
“The report is another slap in the face for the petroleum industry. But it's nowhere near enough. We will be stepping up the fight for climate justice.
A serious systemic problem here is ‘regulatory capture’ whereby the industry influences (if not dictates) regulations, draws guidelines and self-monitors. As the Commissioner pointed out, the monitoring regime in Taranaki is not up to scratch, and New Zealand cannot pursue fossil fuel extraction in the face of climate change and the urgent need to move to a low-carbon future,” said Emily Bailey, Climate Justice Taranaki.
The fossil fuel industry is inherently risky, exploitative and volatile, dominated by multi-national corporations driven by profit motives causing social injustice. It is literally a dirty industry, because of its huge amount of wastes, much of it toxic, which have to be disposed of somehow. Currently, if something goes wrong, the liability is on landowners once the companies walk away at the end of life of the wells.
In terms of climate change, the current government’s push for gas drilling as a so-called ‘bridging fuel’ is ignoring science. Peer-reviewed studies have demonstrated that the amount of fugitive methane released during gas drilling and production has previously been vastly underestimated – by 10 to 100 times in some cases. This confirms that the greenhouse gas impact of natural gas is as bad as coal or oil.
A growing number of countries, states, provinces and districts across the globe have declared a ban or moratorium on fracking. Communities around the world are rising, demanding an end to fracking and unconventional gas mining. Many local authorities and communities in New Zealand don’t want it either.
“Climate Justice Taranaki wants an end to fracking and no more new permits for oil and gas. We encourage landowners and communities to ‘lock their gate’ – deny access to drilling companies. We need to progressively change our ways of doing things, by shifting to a multitude of renewable energy sources and technologies, conserving and consuming less energy, and nurturing sustainable, resilient communities across the country.
We will host two public meetings this month, to provide an analysis of the Commissioner’s new report, its implications, and offer local communities advice should a company demand access for drilling on their properties,” concludes Bailey.