Tuesday, December 03, 2019

More bad faith

Last year, the government announced it was ending offshore oil exploration by no longer issuing new permits. The idea was that the industry would then die off as permits expired. Except almost immediately the government revealed its bad faith, by saying they would extend permits and alter conditions to keep polluters drilling - a threat they have followed through on. And now, their discussion document on the Review of Crown Minerals Act 1991 takes this further, with an entire chapter devoted to overturning existing permit restrictions, allowing exploration and drilling to continue.

At present, exploration permits typically have conditions requiring the permit holder to periodicly surrender some of the permit area. This is expected to result in 56% of the current permitting area being surrendered by November 2021, and 75% by April 2025. But the government wants to remove these provisions. They also want to remove provisions restricting the expansion of permit areas or permit durations, or requiring the surrender of all exploration permit area when converting to a mining permit. The upshot of these changes is to undermine the offshore exploration ban, by keeping the polluting offshore drilling industry going for as long as possible.

These changes need to be resisted. Submissions are open on the review until 27 January, and I urge everyone to make a submission (and also: oppose the "promotion" purpose, and support the removal of the Anadarko Amendment while you're at it). Details on how to submit can be found here.