Gareth Hughes

The fracking boom is here

by Gareth Hughes

BusinessDesk said today, “Onshore Taranaki oil explorer TAG Oil is planning more than 130 new onshore wells, with 13 to be drilled in 2013 and consents sought for platforms from which another 120 could eventually be drilled.”

Not all wells will necessarily be fracked, but you can be certain that fracking technology has made the building of these wells economically viable.

This is why the Green Party has continued our call for a moratorium on fracking. We should not allow a massive expansion of fracking before the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright can assure us it is safe. And so far Dr Wright has not given such assurances.

In her interim report on fracking Dr Wright said, “I cannot be confident that operational best practices are actually being implemented and enforced in this country.”

And best practice certainly isn’t being implemented.

Dr Wright has said that the location of the wellsite is of the utmost importance. She wrote, “Drilling should only take place with great care, if indeed at all, if it is in the vicinity of major faults or aquifers which are used for drinking water or irrigation.”

Yet TAG Oil has received resource consent to frack a well that goes through the aquifer that is the source of drinking water for Hawera.

TAG is also preparing to drill exploration wells onshore on the east coast of the North Island, where oil and gas have not previously been produced, despite Dr Wright listing several questions that need to be answered about the safety of fracking on the East Coast.

This is an important time for New Zealand. We can stand up to foreign oil interests who want to make a quick buck here. We can say that we want a clean energy future, green jobs and a stable climate.

The Pure Advantage group of leading business people have identified that New Zealand has a natural advantage in geothermal energy and biofuels.

I know I’d prefer a clean, green future to a fracked one.


Published in Environment & Resource Management by Gareth Hughes on Fri, January 25th, 2013   

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