Council in no hurry over fracking action

23:37, Dec 12 2012

The two environmental "hot spots" in Taranaki are fracking and water quality, Taranaki Regional Council chairman David MacLeod said this week.

Which makes the TRC's decision not to formally discuss the recent report on fracking by Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright all the more puzzling.

South Taranaki District Councillor Michael Self said the TRC needs to be talking about the report.

"It's very strange. They have their heads in the sand hoping it will go away. It's a huge arrogance. The other option is they are sulking."

In the report, Dr Wright said the environmental risk posed by fracking could be managed effectively provided best practices were implemented and enforced, but she wasn't confident that was happening.

Mr Self said the council is "apparently" the model for New Zealand as far as regulating the oil industry goes.

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"They've had a rap over the knuckles and been found wanting."

But Mr MacLeod said the Commissioner's investigation was in its second stage and it wasn't wise to get too vocal until the results of the whole investigation are known.

"The council put a comment on its website after the report was released." Mr MacLeod said the council was keen to continue to contribute and it seemed Dr Wright could potentially see some areas for improvement in the way the industry was regulated, so it was the council's job to see where improvements could be made.

A discussion of the report was likely at the TRC's policy and planning committee in February.

Dr Wright is now working on her final report, which will look at how the environmental risks of fracking were regulated and monitored.

Taranaki Daily News