Thursday, October 23, 2014

National lets Shell drill illegally

Back in 2012, National passed the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act. At the time, they made a lot of noise about how this was the first legislation to properly protect the EEZ, and that it would lead to a higher level of protection than the existing Continental Shelf Act. So, have they actually enforced the law? Yeah, right:

Shell Todd Oil has drilled two wells off the coast of Taranaki without marine consent, the Green Party says.

Official Information Act (OIA) correspondence between the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and the Greens -- released to the media tonight -- show the EPA inspected the company's Maui oil wells in May this year.

The authority concluded that in two instances Shell Todd Oil Services Ltd (STOS) did not comply with Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) regulations.

"[T]he two activities are considered to be in breach of section 20 of the EEZ Act and were undertaken without a marine consent," the EPA said in a response to OIA questions from the Greens.

Breaching s20 is a strict-liability offence carrying a penalty of a $10 million fine. But National seems to have just let that slide for its mates in the drillign industry. The message is clear: the law applies only to little people, to us peasants. Under National, corporate criminals get a free ride.