The Environment Court interim findings protects our community from potentially harmful effects of oil and gas activities. Help us finish!
Taranaki Energy Watch extends a huge thank you for all your ongoing support. It has been a hard slog for TEW, the lawyers and the experts over the last 12 months and we did it! We are on our way to the finish line.
Can we count on your further support? We have raised a total of $60,000 from our members and supporters. The entire amount goes to cover expert witness and court costs. At present we hope to raise a further $5,000 to help defray our experts' expenses.
Taranaki Energy Watch is thrilled with the interim findings on oil and gas rules released by the Environment Court in late November. The protections recommended by the Court vindicate the position we have been arguing for some years. As you will be aware, we took the South Taranaki District Council to Environment Court, arguing the proposed district plan did not provide communities adequate protection from dangers posed by the oil and gas industry. Stratford District and New Plymouth District Councils joined South Taranaki District Council against us.
The Environment Court's preliminary findings support setback distances from wellsites and production facilities based on the risk of death from fire or explosion. They also propose rules prohibiting particular oil and gas activities in residential areas. We welcome this recommendation as it is only common sense. The Court further found that WorkSafe can’t eliminate the risk of a potential fatality over the boundary of an oil and gas site- that it is the district council’s responsibility to do so through land use planning.
After Taranaki Energy Watch raised concerns about air contaminants emitted by oil and gas activities, air experts identified benzene as a key contaminant for emissions. In the interim findings, the Court recognised the potential of benzene to cause adverse effects on human health. However the “very limited Taranaki- specific benzene monitoring data” made it difficult for either the experts or the Court to reach firm conclusions. As a result, the Environment Court directed the South Taranaki District Council to approach Taranaki Regional Council to assist in providing evidence on air discharges. There will be a further hearing in August 2019 with the air experts and the regional council giving evidence.
Thank you again for your continuing support. We also wish to acknowledge the massive pro bono support from the legal and expert team. All the money raised will go towards meeting their expenses. We are very happy with the outcome to date and will continue to work hard on completing the appeal process.
TEW is challenging the proposed South Taranaki District Council (and other district councils) oil and gas rules in the Environment Court. All the money raised will be spent on costs associated with the legal and expert team.