Greens using Shell as political football, says lawyer

Publish Date
Thursday, 23 October 2014, 7:12PM

A maritime lawyer says the Green Party's using Shell Todd Oil Services as a political football to further its anti-oil position.

The party's accused the Government of having a cavalier approach towards the industry, as the Environmental Protection Authority only gave the company a warning letter for drilling two wells without the right consents.

STOS drilled side-track wells at its Maui platform off the Taranaki coast, under the old law, after the Exclusive Economic Zone Act was enacted in June last year.

Lawyer, Peter Dawson, agrees with both the company and EPA, who say it's normal for new legislation to be interpreted differently when it's first enacted.

Yet he admits the Act needs refining through judicial interpretation.

He says parts of it have already been scrutinised as various matters have come before the EPA.

He rejects claims from the Green Party that the companyâ s gung-ho, saying he believes it would have sought legal advice before proceeding with its activities.

He says it has a good reputation and track record of compliance, so thinks the matter's been blown out of proportion.

EPA general manager of enforcement and compliance, Andrea Eng, says the authority will keep discussing issues with operators to make sure they fully understand their obligations under the Act.

The EPAâ s also committing to carrying out more frequent inspections.

STOS general manager, Rob Jager, says the drilling hasnâ t had an adverse impact on the environment.

He says the company will keep working with the EPA to come to a common understanding of the legislation.

Source: Newstalk ZB