EPA says no

June 19th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Investment in resource extraction from New Zealand’s vast Exclusive Economic Zone has taken a major knock today, with a decision-making committee of the Environmental Protection Authority rejecting an application from TransTasman Resources to mine ironsands off the seabed some 22 to 36 kilometres off the coast of Patea.

TTR issued a statement disclosing the rejection ahead of detail from the , saying it was “extremely disappointed with the decision.”

The company spent some $60 million over seven years developing the project, which it believed could be achieved in an environmentally sustainable way and create additional exports of around $150 million a year from the export of around five million tonnes annually of titano-magnetite iron ore to Asian steelmills, using a suction dredging process that would have returned 90 per cent of the sands to the ocean floor.

“We have put a significant amount of time and effort into developing this project including consulting with iwi and local communities and undertaking detailed scientific research to assess environmental impacts of the project,” said TTR’s chief executive, Tim Crossley.

“Our objective has been to develop an iron sands extraction project which achieves substantial economic development while protecting the environment.

The EPA makes independent decisions, and they obviously didn’t feel comfortable approving the project.

It is a pity though as there was huge economic potential from ironsands, and the area being applied for was in Taranaki, well away from any well populated beach areas,

But at least it means those who claimed the new EPA process wouldn’t protect the environment can’t scaremonger any more on that.

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28 Responses to “EPA says no”

  1. Nigel Kearney (1,012 comments) says:

    Hooray. If I ever want to take my family for a picnic on the ocean floor 30km off the Taranaki coast, thanks to the EPA I will now be able to enjoy doing this without any disruption.

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  2. Auberon (873 comments) says:

    What a fuck up. Clearly sand worms are of more value in this country than hip operations. Madness.

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  3. kowtow (8,439 comments) says:

    …..or jobs.

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  4. artemisia (242 comments) says:

    Chatham Rise Phosphate’s application is coming up for EPA hearing. Again, a lot of research, consultation and dollars involved. if this application also gets declined I’m guessing there will be some serious questions asked about the EPA.

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  5. Dave_1924 (116 comments) says:

    This will be re-run in 2015 – the application will be slightly changed and it will get consented. That’s my pick. TTR won’t go away after shoving that much coin at the assessment.

    Effective scaremongering by the greens lobby with there pictures of boats dredging in sight of the shore and inferring damage to beaches.

    30kms out to sea is OVER the horizon unless your standing well above sea level, approximately 100 metres up, from beach level you would never know it was there….

    Jobs, exports pfftt we don’t need them apparently…

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  6. Manolo (13,746 comments) says:

    Nick Smith and his Green colleagues must be in seventh heaven!

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  7. Dom Knots (155 comments) says:

    Panic slowly. This, the monorail and the tunnel will all be back on schedule when national wins.

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  8. Don the Kiwi (1,750 comments) says:

    A bullshit decision influenced by the election?

    It would be interesting to know how the environment was going to be adversely affected – a temporary disruption to a miniscule area of seabed which would be re-settled by nature within 12 months.

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  9. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    ‘In its decision the Committee said the major reason was uncertainty around the scope and significance of the potential adverse environmental effects, and those on existing interests (such as the Fishing Interests and Iwi).

    It was not satisfied that the life-supporting capacity of the environment would be safeguarded or that the adverse effects of the proposal could be avoided, remedied or mitigated, given the uncertainty and inadequacy of the information presented.’

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  10. Ross12 (1,425 comments) says:

    Terrible decision.

    I’d say an average westerly storm in that area ( which they get regularly) would stir up the sea floor more than this activity. A storm would definitely affect the beaches etc. more.
    But the Greenies don’t want any productive activity so the next time they say anything about jobs they can join the hypocrisy queue headed by Cunliffe.

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  11. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    The EPA appears to follow Douglas Adams’ dictum: “We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!”

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  12. Albert_Ross (291 comments) says:

    Folks on here frequently deride other websites for their unwillingness to entertain other points of view. Do we really think it fair to be slinging around terms such as “madness”, “terrible”, “f*ck up” and “bullsh*t” before we have heard the EPA’s side of this story?

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  13. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    They just can’t be bothered to read the actual decision.

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  14. Maggy Wassilieff (390 comments) says:

    @ Albert…. I’ve read EPA’s decision…… you can too
    http://www.epa.govt.nz/EEZ/EEZ000004/Trans_Tasman_Resources_decision_17June2014.pdf

    I’m with Ross12 on this one…… and any ecologist who knows anything about primary production in the Tasman Sea, and winter storms, and coloniser communities on silty/muddy continental shelves and erosion processes on Mt Egmont is probably wondering where it all went wrong.

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  15. Redbaiter (8,801 comments) says:

    “The EPA makes independent decisions”

    Oxford dictionary- “independent”

    “Not influenced by others; impartial.”

    I don’t think so. I think its far too immersed in its own environmental fantasy world. I’d fire every one of them for putting emotion superstition and plan fairy tale nonsense before reason. They’re not independent, they’re kowtowing to delusional and deranged protest groups.

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  16. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    As if Reddy had any actual evidence for that preposterous assertion.

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  17. jonnobanks (148 comments) says:

    Damn it, my shares in Chatham Rock Phosphate Limited fell in value because of this.

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  18. GPT1 (2,121 comments) says:

    But at least it means those who claimed the new EPA process wouldn’t protect the environment can’t scaremonger any more on that.
    Your faith in people is touching

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  19. ross411 (834 comments) says:

    Maggy Wassilieff (194 comments) says:
    June 19th, 2014 at 3:13 pm
    @ Albert…. I’ve read EPA’s decision…… you can too
    http://www.epa.govt.nz/EEZ/EEZ000004/Trans_Tasman_Resources_decision_17June2014.pdf

    I’m with Ross12 on this one…… and any ecologist who knows anything about primary production in the Tasman Sea, and winter storms, and coloniser communities on silty/muddy continental shelves and erosion processes on Mt Egmont is probably wondering where it all went wrong.

    Is that your professional opinion as an ecologist? What education do you have as an ecologist, and what jobs have you widened that education in professionally? Otherwise, both you and Ross12 may as well be self-declared experts, and they’re a dime a dozen here on the internets and not worth a dime.

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  20. RRM (9,917 comments) says:

    You can’t do that here. ™

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  21. Maggy Wassilieff (390 comments) says:

    @ross411…
    I’m retired….
    BSc, BSc hons 1st class, Ph.D (all in Plant Ecology), Dip Tchng (Secondary)
    Council Gardener, Government Scientist, Gvt Science Editor, Lecturer, Science Teacher, Gvt Science writer
    However wrt to TTR decision.. I would put my local knowledge of 60+ years of the Wanganui-South Taranaki coast as being key to forming my opinion……
    I grew up in Castlecliff… spent my childhood-youth on its wind-swept black beaches. I know all the beaches from South Beach Wanganui to Ohawe, Hawera. I have read all the published Geological/biological information that pertains to the South Wanganui Basin.
    I’ve been researching aspects of this coast for the last 6 years…. one day I might put it all together in some accessible form.
    In the meantime… i could supply you with photos, bibliographies etc.

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  22. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    If the problem is that the submission was missing information and/or poorly written, then it should be fixed and resubmitted.

    I’ll agree that a rejection by the EPA has a high probability of being because the hippies have taken over the asylum. But it’s also possible that the company concerned wrote a shitty proposal, and/or tried to cut corners in the hope they’d get away with it. In that latter case then this result is exactly what I’d expect. The decision as quoted above (haven’t read it myself) sounds like that’s what the EPA concluded, and if they’re right, then they’re doing their job.

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  23. UrbanNeocolonialist (288 comments) says:

    A bit frustrating – denied due to down-current debris plume that would reduce water clarity and so cut down on light filtering down. (Summary suggests it will have big effects over an areas that extends for 100’s of km – no doubt massively pessimistic estimate from some uni academic).

    They might just need to do a bit more work on discharge system to reduce the plume size (perhaps deliver detritus to sea floor with less agitation, eg a slower flow with perhaps less water entrained delivered straight to sea bed), or a little more modelling from someone who doesn’t vote Green. Or a demo to prove plume will be smaller than suggested. Probably better to spend that money after you get turned down rather than before.

    I wonder if they considered that the likely increase of dissolved iron in that plume might actually do the opposite? Lack of iron in sea water tends to limit growth – perhaps very slight increase in dissolved iron in the plume would actually counteract the reduced light to create greater growth, might even be able to add it intentionally to mitigate effect of plume.

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  24. Maggy Wassilieff (390 comments) says:

    @ Urban neocolonialist… I reckon you’re on to it…. major problem with TTR case was that they didn’t have recent info on primary production in the proposed area… also didn’t have year-round info ….. but then again, such info is probably absent for most of NZ coast.

    I suppose what I find interesting is that the majority of the scientific submitters agreed that after mining the seabed would take about 10 years for its biota to return to a state similar to that before mining. Seems such a short recovery time period… if only our buggered up terrestrial ecosystems bounced back so quickly.

    Disclaimer: no-one is paying me professional fees for my pearls of wisdom. I’m happy if they’re cast before swine.

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  25. nasska (11,468 comments) says:

    ….”: no-one is paying me professional fees for my pearls of wisdom. I’m happy if they’re cast before swine.”….

    On the contrary…..it is great to get a pragmatic appraisal written in a way that a layman can understand. Thanks.

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  26. Ross12 (1,425 comments) says:

    No apology to Maggie from ross411 ????

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  27. Maggy Wassilieff (390 comments) says:

    @ Ross12…. Apology???… To an uppity old crone from the slums of Castlecliff. Not something I’ve come across very often in my life.
    Trust me, Ross411 is in good company…
    Still Brigadier Gilbert once had the good grace to call me in to his office to explain he had been misquoted in an article he wrote attacking the NZ Forest Service. My letter to the ed rebutting some of his points occasioned this rather uncomfortable exchange.

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  28. Ross12 (1,425 comments) says:

    Maggy

    I’m ex Wanganui as well so I know a little about how wild that part of the coast can get. I also agree with UrbanNeocolonialist and the comments on the discharge system. It seems very logical.

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