Taranaki Energy Watch       Climate Justice Taranaki      8 November 2016

The proposed South Taranaki District Plan offers not enough protection for people or the environment from hazardous industries like oil and gas particularly in the rural communities says local environmental watchdogs.

“There continues to be ongoing concerns with the rules for oil and gas. While setbacks will be considered on a case-by-case basis for new petroleum exploration and production activities, these only need to be managed so they do not  pose significant residual risks to people, property and the environment. They should not be causing any risk  to others. This is a dangerous industry with the potential to cause fatalities, injuries and damage to properties outside of their boundaries” says Sarah Roberts, spokesperson for Taranaki Energy Watch.

“Setback distances for health and safety reasons proposed to existing facilities such as Kapuni have been removed. The only protection for people wanting to develop their properties near these facilities is noise insulation even though it is recognized there are potential serious adverse effects from hazardous substances  beyond the boundaries of these facilities”.

“Seismic surveys using explosives continue to be allowed in the rural areas without resource consent even though there have been several cases where undetonated explosives have been left in the ground requiring ongoing monitoring as a result” says Ms Roberts.

“In terms of landfarming oil and gas waste Climate Justice Taranaki  (CJT) has argued strongly against it, especially in the coastal environment. Yet Council has decided not to exclude these waste disposal facilities (including landfarming) from the Coastal Protection Area or any Outstanding Natural Feature/Landscape area, despite previously acknowledging severe land degradation from this activity,” says Catherine Cheung of CJT.

“Clearance and damage to indigenous vegetation is also possible within the Coastal Protection Area. The National Coastal Policy Statement requires councils to restore and rehabilitate degraded coastal environments. However Council will allow further degradation, at a time when coastal hazards are escalating as a result of climate change and sea level rise.

“The Environment Minister has just ruled out compensation packages for homeowners affected by climate change. Who will bail them out when the coastline continues to degrade and eventually gives way to storm surge and erosion?” asked Cheung.

Both groups  are considering appealing the district plan.

For further information, contact:

Sarah Roberts –Taranaki Energy Watch                    0273362611

Catherine Cheung- Climate Justice Taranaki             067524333