Government welcomes report on fracking
27 November 2012 - Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley and Environment Minister Amy Adams have welcomed the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s interim report on her investigation into hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
Source: The Beehive
The interim report finds that the environmental risks associated with fracking can be effectively managed, providing that the best operational practices are implemented and enforced through regulation.
"We acknowledge the Commissioner's interim view that the evidence she has considered to date suggests a nationwide moratorium on fracking is not justified," said Mr Heatley and Ms Adams.
The Commissioner's findings are in two parts. The first relates to aspects of oil and gas production. They are:
- choose the well site carefully
- design and construct wells to prevent leaks
- prevent spills and leaks on the surface
- store and dispose of waste with care.
She has also made three interim findings about government oversight and regulation, that:
- regulatory oversight is complex and fragmented
- regulation may be too light-handed
- a social licence to operate is yet to be earned.
"We agree that it is important to have strong and consistent regulation of fracking and to improve regulation and monitoring where necessary," the Ministers said.
"This Government has already implemented a number of measures, including consulting on proposed changes to the Health and Safety in Employment (Petroleum Exploration and Extraction) Regulations 1999, which will allow New Zealand to keep pace with international best practice," Mr Heatley said.
"I have instructed the Ministry for the Environment to consider and produce clear guidelines on the respective roles of central and local government in relation to the control of fracking," Ms Adams said.
"It is important that New Zealanders are confident in how the practice of fracking is managed. The interim report provides a valuable contribution to the understanding of fracking in New Zealand," the Ministers said.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will prepare a full response to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s interim report to inform the Commissioner's final report, due in mid-2013.