Fracking report 'did not go far enough'

By LAWRENCE GULLERY


Lobby and political parties have welcomed environmental commissioner Dr Jan Wright's report on fracking but are disappointed it stopped short of introducing a ban on the oil and gas drilling process.

Green Party Hawke's Bay energy spokesperson Paul Bailey said he was also worried Dr Wright's report was being investigated in two parts.

"I think there is a lead role here for the [Hawke's Bay regional] council to delay any consents until the questions Dr Wright has posed in her interim report are answered in the second part of her investigation.

"Splitting the report in two will encourage [oil] companies to get their consents in as fast as possible before new regulations are developed as a result of Dr Wright's final recommendations."

Don't Frack the Bay spokeswoman Pauline Elliott said she was surprised Dr Wright had not supported a moratorium until the public felt comfortable with fracking and how it would be managed.

"Don't Frack the Bay has long voiced concern that the complex, intricate geology of Hawkes Bay is a major concern," she said. "The region is not suited to hydraulic fracturing.

Unlike Taranaki, this region suffers periods of drought. There is a crucial question as to where the significant volumes of water required for fracking will come from.

"There can be no comparison with Taranaki as a model for development."

Hawke's Bay regional councillor Liz Remmerswaal said the responsibility of managing and regulating oil and gas exploration would fall upon the council to manage, in the absence of a moratorium.

"Council needs to take a precautionary stance in the best interests of the health and safety of its people.

"The government seems to be reliant on oil to bring prosperity to Hawke's Bay even though we have an industry which is not properly regulated at the moment."

The regional council said it had not received any recent resource consent applications for oil exploration. Councils are obliged by law to accept any applications and process them.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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