Sunday, August 21, 2011

Gas Fracking in New Zealand

Thanks to Robin Westenra at his blog Seemorerocks for bringing this to my attention:
Until recently I operated under the illusion that fracking was limited to North America!
Josh Fox, director of Gasland a documentary which exposes the health impacts of Fracking or horizontal hydraulic fracturing where a mixture of water, sand and chemicals is injected at extreme pressure to crack open rock, boosting gas flow; Russell Norman, co-leader of the Green Party; and Bernie Napp, a policy analyst for Staterra the umbrella group for the New Zealand resource sector (which includes mining and exploration).

 If the Taranaki Regional Council were, in the course of fulfilling their duties to environmental protection, to find against the use of "fracking" by the gas industry in the region, they would be putting themselves in the same position as Environment Canterbury did over the issue of water quality in relation to intensive dairying in their region, and to face the threat of suspension and the imposition of commissioners. Is it any wonder then that we find TRC regurgitating verbatim the gas industries platitudes concerning the integrity of wells when we hear that one in twenty is compromised by casing failure. Here we see again the conflict between what the government wants- facilitation of penetration of the interests of commerce and industry- and the Regional Councils' foremost duty- to protect that most basic of human rights, the security and safety of the drinking water supply.
  Russel Norman says that the Taranaki Regional Council have economic development objectives that may bring jobs to the area as well as those of environmental protection and these are of course potentially conflicting. This true but in my view this is deliberately avoiding the above mentioned "elephant in the room". I believe the parliamentary Greens are anxious not to unduly rile the National party as they are mindful of the possibility of an arrangement with the Nats following the election in November.

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