Both sides of the fracking debate are welcoming news of an official and independent investigation.
Dr Jan Wright, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, announced the investigation yesterday.
Preliminary work on hydraulic fracturing, the process of pumping water and chemicals into wells to release oil and gas, had indicated there was a need for an examination, she said.
“Over the next few months my staff and I will conduct this investigation and produce a report to Parliament,” she said.
The report would be presented before the end of the year, she said.
But while the move is what Taranaki’s strongest opponents of hydraulic fracturing have long called for, they say a moratorium is still needed in this region while the investigation is under way.
The sad reality is though that opponents of fracking will remain implacably opposed to it regardless of what the PCE says. Their call for a moratorium is in fact a call for a permanent ban. I bet you there will never ever be a day when they say the moratorium should be lifted.
I also predict that the PCE will probably say there is no proof that fracking causes harm, but they can not prove it doesn’t do bad stuff, and opponents will seize on the inability to prove a negative as a reason for it to be banned.