Guide­lines pro­vide clear di­rec­tion on hy­draulic frac­tur­ing

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - NEWS -

New guide­lines for man­ag­ing the en­vi­ron­men­tal ef­fects of hy­draulic frac­tur­ing sup­port the en­vi­ron­men­tally re­spon­si­ble de­vel­op­ment of re­sources, have been an­nounced by En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Amy Adams.

“The en­vi­ron­men­tal risks of on­shore petroleum de­vel­op­ment, in­clud­ing hy­draulic frac­tur­ing can be ef­fec­tively man­aged if best prac­tice is fol­lowed. These guide­lines pro­vide clear di­rec­tion so that hy­draulic frac­tur­ing is car­ried out in a ro­bust, con­trolled and well reg­u­lated man­ner,” says Adams.

The guide­lines clar­ify the reg­u­la­tory roles of cen­tral and lo­cal govern­ment for ac­tiv­i­ties re­lat­ing to hy­draulic frac­tur­ing, and pro­vide guid­ance to lo­cal govern­ment to ap­pro­pri­ately man­age the ac­tiv­ity un­der the Re­source Man­age­ment Act 1991.

The guide­lines cover the life­cy­cle of on­shore petroleum wells, from ini­tial seis­mic sur­vey­ing through to de­com­mis­sion­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

Adams says: “The guide­lines clar­ify the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of coun­cils from ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tion and plan­ning to con­sent­ing, and will sup­port coun­cils so that the en­vi­ron­men­tal ef­fects of hy­draulic frac­tur­ing are man­aged ap­pro­pri­ately across the coun­try.”

The guide­lines fol­low the Par­lia­men­tary Com­mis­sioner for the En­vi­ron­ment’s (PCE’s) in­terim re­port that eval­u­ated the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts of hy­draulic frac­tur­ing in New Zealand. The PCE is ex­pected to re­lease her fi­nal re­port this year.

The guide­lines have been peer re­viewed by lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional re­source man­age­ment ex­perts, and in­cor­po­rate feed­back from coun­cils, NGOs, the petroleum and pri­mary in­dus­tries sec­tor, DHBs and iwi to en­sure the guid­ance is ro­bust.

As a re­sult of con­sul­ta­tion the guide­lines now in­clude additional in­for­ma­tion on coal seam gas ex­trac­tion, clar­ify of the types of waste that land farm­ing may be an ap­pro­pri­ate op­tion for man­ag­ing, and pro­vide clar­i­fi­ca­tion that the guide­lines ap­ply to on­shore ac­tiv­i­ties.

The guide­lines are an im­por­tant step to en­sur­ing hy­draulic frac­tur­ing is man­aged ap­pro­pri­ately, and the Min­istry for the En­vi­ron­ment will be mon­i­tor­ing the ef­fec­tive­ness of the guide­lines as they are im­ple­mented by coun­cils over the next 12 months.

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