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New twist in Taranaki fracking debate

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The fracking debate in Taranaki has taken a new twist. The Taranaki Regional Council, the authority that grants resource consents to onshore drilling and fracking, is in the process of ignoring of three people who have been raising issues with the council in relation to environmental monitoring (or lack thereof). Land-owners Sarah Roberts and David Morrison, along with South Taranaki District Councillor Michael Self will no longer be listened to when they contact the council. Instead, any queries received from them will simply be acknowledged and filed. The TRC claims that the three are “deliberately mischievous and plainly vexatious.”

Fracking, a drilling process to extract oil and gas which involves pumping a mixture of sand and water along with a chemical cocktail into the earth the fracture rock formations, has taken place in Taranaki for many years. Until last year it didn’t even require a resource consent.

More and more landowners and hapu and iwi are opposing the drilling. Resource consents are not publicly notified which means only affected parties can object. Several landowners are saying NO which has lead to hearings at council (which so far has always decided in favour of the companies).

The expansion of the drilling in Taranaki is massive. Did you know that the government has granted over 60+ Petroleum Exploration Permits in the Taranaki region, over half of those permits are for onshore exploration. Approximately 80% of the land in Taranaki has been sold off to petroleum companies to drill for oil, petroleum, gas, condensate, LPG and coal seam gas. In the past year we have seen a 170 per cent increase in the rate of new wells, compared with the average rate for the previous 18 years. The government is aiming to increase the value of New Zealand petroleum exports ten-fold from $3 billion to $30 billion a year by 2025.

Drew Hutton who initiated the ‘Lock the Gate Alliance’ in Australia has been touring NZ over the last week and is speaking in Taranaki tonight.

The Taranaki Daily News is running an online poll on asking “whether the TRC is right to take a stand and officially snub three high-profile fracking activists?” You can vote here.

Comments

vexatious

This "vexatious submissions" clause was slipped into the RMA to shut down environmental debate and permit illegal toxic activities. At least they haven't been fined $20,000 like Phil from South Westland in the Environment court for trying to stop the ground water on his land being contaminated with fluoride residues from aerial 1080 drops. What is truly vexatious is this "non notifiable consent" idiocy which also locks out affected parties who neighbour the activity, or any campaigner who doesn't live on the property. What is truly vexatious is that our RMA and our country is being run by dirty toxic crooks who attack their opponents and bend the law to suit their industrial expansion agenda. We must not be scared off by such tactics, we need to fight to regain our sovereignty over our own countryside.