28 Aug 2012

Council refuses to respond to fracking opponents

4:14 pm on 28 August 2012

The Taranaki Regional Council is refusing to respond to opponents of fracking over their concerns about the controversial mining technique in the area.

The council says three opponents in particular are being mischievous and vexatious.

Fracking (hydraulic fracturing) involves injecting water, sand and chemicals into oil or gas reservoirs to crack open rock and boost petroleum flow and has been used in Taranaki since 1990.

Councillors were told at a meeting on Tuesday that staff have stopped answering questions from the three South Taranaki residents, who have repeatedly called the council's monitoring of fracking inadequate.

The council says it has done comprehensive environmental monitoring and reporting since 1990. It says no contamination has been found in its weekly inspections of well sites, which it says could be the most intensive done by any authority in New Zealand.

The council says those making the claims keep misinterpreting and misrepresenting information, which does nothing to contribute to a meaningful discussion on fracking.

Concerned resident Sarah Roberts has a house in Ngaere near a well site area and says she is insulted that the council is trying to discredit her.

"What we want to do is make sure if they are going to be drilling, if they are going to be fracking and producing that the regulatory body - the regional council - has a handle on it.

"At the moment, the three of us have been trying to say we don't feel that's the case - and that's why we keep raising issues with them."

The group Climate Justice Taranaki wants the Auditor-General to investigate.