PCE final report says no to a fracking ban

June 5th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Parliamentary Commission for the Environment has published a final report on fracking, and concluded that on all the science it should not be banned. Will the Green Party accept the science, or do as they did with GE, and ignore it?

The PCE has a Q+A which I quote:

3. Is drilling and fracking for oil and gas safe?

The Commissioner has found no evidence of major environmental problems from onshore oil and gas drilling in New Zealand. The risks of a major problem are low, if best practice is used. If not, the risk is greater and can cause serious environmental damage. It is therefore essential that New Zealand’s laws and regulatory agencies are adequate.

No evidence. I repeat, no evidence.

5. Why hasn’t the Commissioner recommended a moratorium?

The Commissioner has identified a number of problems that need to be fixed by Government and councils. The Commissioner has found that a moratorium is not justified because New Zealand has laws in place that can be used to prepare for a rapid expansion of the industry.

No moratorium needed.

So what do the Greens say:

“The Green Party is calling on the Government to take a safety-first approach and put a halt on fracking. 

They were probably against the wheel being invented also, if they were around then.

Now let’s be clear. The PCE has very usefully identified six areas where better regulation is needed. That’s exactly where the debate should be – getting the regulation right. But the Greens don’t care about getting the balance right. They will never ever support fracking, mining or drilling because it is against their near religious world view that Gaia must be left alone.

So what did the PCE recommend:

  1. Providing national direction
  2. Improving regional council plans
  3. Assessing well integrity to protect the environment
  4. Paying when something goes wrong
  5. Enforcing the controls on hazardous substances
  6. Dealing with solid waste from oil and gas wells



A leftie reader writes in on fracking

December 11th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

A leftie reader e-mailed me:

I too was disappointed with the Green Party’s response to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s review of fracking in New Zealand.

The problem with the Greens is that they are reflexively anti-science when it doesn’t fit their world-view. Their latest position on fracking is the second time in a row the Green Party has attacked the work of the Commissioner.

The last time was in July when Gareth Hughes had a go at her report on Evaluating solar water heating: Sun, renewable energy, and climate change. That report took an extensive look at whether subsidised solar-power units for household hot water actually helped reduce carbon emissions. Turns out the impact at peak times (when gas-powered reserve energy generation capacity is needed) is negligible. 

Ignoring that, Hughes said the evidence-based report was “unhelpful” and “has done solar water heating a disservice”.

Now, remember that the investigation into fracking was undertaken at the request of the Greens – back in March they presented a petition to parliament entitled “Frack No”, which expressly called for “the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment to conduct an inquiry into the practice of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in New Zealand, and to report the results of the inquiry to the House.”

Talk about an own-goal.

In a speech in May, Hughes said: “The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment is currently investigating fracking. This is the appropriate independent body to have a look at all the facts. Let’s wait for the research to come into effect”. Shame Hughes didn’t take his own advice and began trying to undermine the outcome of the report before it was released.

Well, Dr Jan Wright did have a look at all the facts. And while she says some of the rules governing fracking should be considered, she ruled out any knee-jerk response.

It’s just a shame the Green Party refused to do the same.

A timely reminder that there is a history of attacking the independent Commissioner for the Environment, when her conclusions and the scientific evidence doesn’t support their political campaigns.

Greens reject fracking report even though a Green candidate was team leader

December 3rd, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

NBR (paywall) reports:

Quentin Duthie was project leader for the team which put together the report on fracking, released by the commissioner on Tuesday.

Mr Duthie was a Green Party candidate in 2005 and 2008 and has also worked as a parliamentary staffer for the party. More recently he has been a conservation advocate for Forest and Bird. …

Mineral industry groups welcomed the report but the Green Party, with MP Gareth Hughes calling it “half-baked”, condemned it, saying there should be a moratorium on fracking.

This just demonstrates that the Greens parliamentary wing are putting politics ahead of the environment.  They demanded this inquiry, and then rejected out of hand the main conclusion that there is no evidence to justify a moratorium (a Orwellian term for a ban).

People need to understand that many many people in political life care about the environment and conservation. The Greens political party pushes an extreme version of environmentalism which is basically opposition to any activity that impacts the environment in any way.

The fracking report

November 26th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Neil Reid at Stuff reports:

New Zealand’s environmental watchdog is unlikely to call for a ban on fracking upon the release of her initial inquiry into the controversial oil and gas industry technique.

Will this stop the Greens from trying to get it banned?

Green Party energy spokesman Gareth Hughes said if Wright did not make a binding stand on fracking in her report, he would call on the Government to order a moratorium on fracking until the procedure was proven safe.

Of course not. We should also ban manufacturing until it has been proven safe.

Earlier this month, Todd Energy released the 178-page submission it had provided Wright’s investigation.

In it, the energy company – which has a history of fracking in Taranaki – said New Zealand’s multibillion-dollar energy industry would be uneconomic if fracking was outlawed.

Todd Energy chief executive Paul Moore argued the practice could be done safely.

“We need to do it – but we also need to assure the public that we’re doing it well,” he said.

The sensible debate is around how it is done and what consents are needed.

Fracking inquiry

March 29th, 2012 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

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 PCE inquiry is not a bad thing. The PCE tends to generally take a robust science based approach to issues.

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.