Greenpeace today filed papers at the High Court of New Zealand in Wellington asking for a Judicial Review of the decision to allow Anadarko to carry out drilling.
The government’s Environmental Protection Authority made an ‘error in law’ by allowing Anadarko to go-ahead without looking at several key documents, including reports on oil spill modelling and emergency plans to deal with an oil spill, according to the legal papers.
Lawyers for Greenpeace are asking for the matter to be ‘allocated an urgent hearing date’ due to the ‘national importance of the issue’.
If Greenpeace’s challenge is successful, it could bring a halt to Anadarko’s drilling plans, as they should not have been given permission to drill because the requirements of the law were not met.
Greenpeace’s chief policy advisor Nathan Argent said: “The government’s process appears to have a hole in it so big that an untested 230 metre-long drilling ship has been driven through it.
“We haven’t seen these documents, so we don’t know what’s in them. Apparently government ministers haven’t seen these documents, so they don’t know what’s in them. And even the EPA, who gave the go-ahead to Anadarko, haven’t seen these documents, so they don’t know what’s in them.
“This not only looks shockingly lax, and a complete contrast from government claims that oil companies have been put through the wringer, it also now looks like this was not lawful.”
The legal development comes as Bunny McDiarmid, Greenpeace’s executive director, says that she will be leaving the site where Anadarko intend to drill, around 100 miles off the west coast of New Zealand, to continue the campaign in the High Court.
Speaking from the Vega, a small boat which has been within 500 metres of the Noble Bob Douglas drilling ship for the last week, Bunny McDiarmid said:
“We’ve been here for over a week now, and we’re heading home determined to carry on this campaign for a cleaner, more prosperous New Zealand. We’re really happy to have had the support of thousands and thousands of Kiwis who don’t want risky deepsea drilling.”
For more information, contact:
Nathan Argent, chief policy advisor, Greenpeace: 021 971 234
Niall Bennett, head of communications, Greenpeace: 0221 831740
Ana Mules, communications officer, Greenpeace: 021 260 916