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It is deeply worrying that no council or Government agency can tell us the names and volumes of the chemicals used in fracking wells in Taranaki during the period from 1989 to mid-2011, Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes said today.
"How can Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley claim fracking has been well regulated when his Ministry and the relevant councils could not give us a list of the names and volumes of the chemicals used in 72 fracking incidents in Taranaki?"
Using the Official Information Act, the Green Party wrote to the South Taranaki District Council, Stratford District Council, New Plymouth District Council, Taranaki Regional Council and the Ministry for Economic Development asking for the names and volumes of the fracking chemicals actually injected for the hydraulic fracturing events in their jurisdiction. Only Taranaki Regional Council provided us with information and it was the names and volumes of the 12 fracking events they have taken place since mid-2011. The Environmental Risk Management Authority part of the Environmental Protection Authority does not hold this information either.
"How can the council be monitoring the environmental effects of the chemicals if they can't even tell us what chemicals were used where and in what volumes?" asked Mr Hughes.
Mr Hughes was concerned that dangerous chemicals and radioactive tracers could have been used in Taranaki without the knowledge of any regulator. Shell Todd Oil Services have applied to the Taranaki Regional Council to use radioactive tracers in the fracking fluid at four well sites within the Kapuni gas field. The company says that radioactive tracers have been used by the industry for the last 30 years.
"I want to know if dangerous chemicals and radioactive tracers have been used in Taranaki for decades, but no agency I have asked can provide a list of the chemicals used in Taranaki fracking prior to mid-2011," said Mr Hughes.
"If we want to find out what chemicals were used in Taranaki fracking, we will probably have to rely on the voluntary disclosure by the fracking companies, since it seems the companies were not legally required to disclose this information prior to mid-2011."
Beginning in mid-2011 Taranaki Regional Council began requiring resource consent for fracking.
"The Government's role should be to provide critical oversight of the controversial fracking practise, but it has become an apologist and cheerleader for the industry instead," said Mr Hughes.
"The responsible step for the Government would be to announce a moratorium on fracking until it can demonstrate to New Zealanders it has the appropriate rules and regulation in place and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment assures us it is safe," said Mr Hughes.
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