Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Espiner (C) on the Greens and oil

We spotted Colin Espiner's column yesterday. But given that we had already given the Greens a fair bit of scrutiny yesterday, we parked the piece until this morning.

Colin Espiner's message is very simple however, and ought not be ignored. And he has called the Greens out in no uncertain terms; under the heading Time for oil perspective Espiner (C) opines:

Deep-sea drilling evokes negative emotions in many but science and logic suggest the benefits outweigh the risks.
It isn't easy being green. Ask Kermit, who has survived 60 years in the public eye and endured every possible slight from false marriage rumours and copyright infringement to a recent YouTube parody featuring a nearly naked Miley Cyrus.
So I have some sympathy with the famous frog's political brethren, often mocked as environmental whack-jobs, zealots, and crazies who would perform their own version of Cyrus's Wrecking Ball on our economy if ever let anywhere near the levers of power.
I think the Green Party is, overall, a force for good in New Zealand politics and provided it sticks to its core environmental principles rather than social activism it's likely to do very well again at the next election.
But every now and again the Green Party requires calling out. And its implacable opposition to exploratory drilling by Texan oil company Anadarko off the west coast of the North Island is one of these times.
The hyperbole and rhetoric spewed by the Greens and other assorted opponents of deep-sea drilling for oil and gas is out of all proportion to the risks involved in this venture, and has been driven far more by emotion than it has by logic or science. 

Regular readers will not be surprised to hear us declare that we agree wholeheartedly with Espiner (C) on this. A significant oil find has the ability to transform New Zealand.

Rather than address Espiner (C)'s next paragraphs one by one (because they are many), we suggest you go and read them for yourself. It's an excellent piece, and we'll skip straight to his conclusion:

The Green Party, Greenpeace, and other environmental activists oppose deep-sea oil drilling on principle. But then, they also oppose our dependence on oil and other fossil fuels and even the notion of economic growth full stop. That's their prerogative.
There are some valid concerns that the Government must address. But we shouldn't let them own this debate. The potential rewards are too great to pass up. 

We couldn't agree more. A major oil discovery would be a huge fillip to the New Zealand economy. Provided drilling can be done in the safest possible manner, we owe it to our children to at least have a look.


bsprout said...

I would love you to provide a link to the response plan in the event of any accident. I am sure you cannot say that deep sea drilling is risk free. The royalties we get from any oil are the fourth lowest in he world and all the responsibility for any accident rests with Maritime New Zealand. The odds of any accident involving an oil spill is 1:19 in deep water, but even if it were 1:50 the protections aren't enough. Why does Simon Bridges, Maritime New Zealand and Anadarko block attempts at finding out information on response plans?

Here are some interesting facts:
1) Anadarko do not have to go through a consent process to drill for oil but someone drilling a bore hole does.
2) Simon Bridges said that he doesn't have to read Anadarko's response plan because that is the job of the consenting authorities.
3) The EPA as one of the consenting authorities and it only read the summary of the plan.
4) Any response plan won't be publicly available.

Simon bridges claims that there are tighter regulations around drilling than existed before and yet we have never had drilling this deep before, the risks are much greater and no one is prepared to really check the detail. When asked about the availability of information, Maritime New Zealand couldn't give an independent response, they had to ask Anadarko first.

I'm sorry but I don't have the same blind trust in the oil industry that you have KS. I won't something more robust in place.

Keeping Stock said...

I am sure you cannot say that deep sea drilling is risk free.

What IS risk free bsprout? You flew to Auckland at the weekend, as did I. Was that without risk? You drove to the airport, as did I. Was that without risk? Now we find that wireless internet is supposedly injurious to our health, yet we still use it.

If we were paralysed by risk, nothing would ever happen. Then again, I guess that would please the Greens.

bsprout said...

KS, every time I board a plane I have to hear a safety message and it is easy to get information on Air New Zealand's safety and accident plans. The Gulf of Mexico disaster was huge and if we had an accident that was even a 1/4 of that one, what is our response plan?

I know about risk, I was an enthusiastic mountain climber for many years and did mountain safety courses, used appropriate equipment and made use of weather reports. Risks always existed but I made sure that those I could control were well managed. I don't get that same feeling with deep sea oil drilling. I challenged you to find information how the risks of an oil accident would be managed and as I thought you could find nothing, unlike your flying example.