Couple appeal oil wells consent

HELEN HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 26/09/2012

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An Inglewood couple are appealing to the Environment Court against the building of four more oil wells in Upper Durham Rd.

New Plymouth District Council granted resource consent to Tag Oil to extend its existing Sidewinder site, but Vernon and Gaylene Kay have appealed against the decision.

No date for the hearing has been set.

The Kays' property is the closest to the site - about 240 metres away.

In their submission to the council, the couple cited noise effects, general disturbance and disruption and increased traffic among the reasons for their opposition to the extension.

The Sidewinder site was the topic of a letter to the Taranaki Daily News last week.

Environment campaigners Sarah Roberts, David Morrison and Michael Self wanted to know why Taranaki Regional Council added extra information to a 2010-2011 monitoring report for the Sidewinder wellsite on May 25 this year.

"We are . . . extremely concerned the TRC can retrospectively add information to a public report almost a year later."

The amendment said an infringement fine of $750 had been issued to Tag Oil because of a couple of incidents in April and May last year in which chemicals ended up in a skimmer pit.

The council's environment quality director, Gary Bedford, said the amendment was made in response to queries from Ms Roberts.

"Ms Roberts complained that the council gave [Tag Oil's] performance an overall ‘good' rating when there had been some matters requiring attention in various degrees, and she alleged that the council had done nothing about those matters. This was a false assertion."

Therefore the council provided more information in an amended version, which made it plain how the council had dealt with each situation, he said.

"It is important to note that the council's responses, including the issue of an infringement notice, were already a matter of public record.

"Council interventions had been reported publicly as they arose, through the six-weekly reports of incidents to council meetings.

There was therefore no significant new disclosure in any way - it was simply a matter of incorporating fuller information into the monitoring report, for clarity."

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