Protesters fear for HB water

By Christine McKay

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Opponents of TAG Oil's two Dannevirke drilling sites, say one of their main concerns is the pollution of our waterways.

TAG chief executive, Garth Johnson, said the findings of an independent report, released by the Taranaki Regional Council, shows the company's operations in that district are not polluting groundwater.

"The findings of the report are exactly what TAG has been striving for," Mr Johnson said.

"I'm proud of our team and their efforts. The vast majority of TAG staff live and work in the regions we carry out our operations and we all work hard to minimise any impacts to the environment.

"Our aim is to be open and transparent in all operations at all our sites, letting results of our operations and science speak for themselves."

However, for one Dannevirke couple who attended Sunday's protest march against Tag's drilling operations on Ngapaeruru Rd, the effects on water in our district is the reason they took part in the protest.

"I don't object to the drilling as such, but it's the thought of what fracking will do to our underground streams that worries me," the woman, who didn't want to be named, said.

"Straight drilling could be good for our community, but if the company pollutes all the underground streams, then we'll all suffer, because those streams feed into the Manawatu River."

Another protester from Napier said she'd joined Sunday's march because she was passionate about keeping our water pure.

"I can't understand, how, in a drought, the Tararua mayor can justify putting his rural community at risk.

"What could happen here terrifies me. How can your mayor sleep at night? How can he do this to his people?" the woman asked.

Henare Kani of Dannevirke, a landowner on Mangahei Rd next door to where a rig is going up, said the message was clear.

"We just don't want them here," he said.

Mr Kani said Sunday's protest march was peaceful and non-abusive and the protesters were taking the high moral ground and will be dropping 5000 flyers into local letterboxes to inform the public of the issues.

The Taranaki Regional Council's independent groundwater monitoring programme at two of TAG's sites in the Ngaere area in the Taranaki, showed there was no evidence of effects from hydraulic fracturing or other hydrocarbon exploration and extraction activities on shallow groundwater or surface water in the vicinity of the sites.

TAG chief operating officer Drew Cadenhead said decades of expertise and resource went into making TAG's operations as safe as they could be.

"Long before any drilling is done considerable study and analysis is done on an area of interest and a huge amount of effort then goes into designing wells of the highest standard," he said.

"Then when drilling takes place we make sure the well is constructed using world-best practice."

Mr Johnson said he hoped people on the East Coast who have concerns about oil and gas exploration, read the report and see what can be achieved with careful planning and world class standards.

"We will continue to work in the same careful, methodical and safe way that we have for over a decade," he said.

 

- Hawkes Bay Today

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