Frack Free NZ

Written By: - Date published: 4:30 pm, April 13th, 2012 - 33 comments
Categories: Conservation, local government, Mining - Tags: ,

There is more and more (and more and more and more) evidence accumulating that “fracking” is a Bad Thing.

So it’s great to see that Christchurch City Council has (unanimously) banned the practice – Christchurch is a frack free zone.

A symbolic gesture? Maybe, but remember that it’s how the anti-nuke movement started in NZ. By the time the law was put in place by Labour, 66% of the population lived in council-declared nuke-free zones. You have to start somewhere…

33 comments on “Frack Free NZ”

  1. Bored 1

    Might I encourage all readers to put in for a Resource Consent or whatever is required for permission to frack in their urban backyard….or any reserves / etc in the suburbs of Parnell, Reemers, Lowry bay, Fendalton……..take the battle to the enemy (any blue ribbon NACT heartland).

  2. Watch out for an attempt to have the Waitakere Ranges Local Board declare itself to be a fracken free zone soon!

  3. David 3

    Brilliant, they have been fracking in Taranaki for 11years, coal fired power stations in the states are being mothballed or converted to much cleaner gas thanks to fracking. Geo science study said there is no risk what is the bloody problem ? Leave it to the Luddite greens to ban everything, what happened to the Clark labour party who actually seemed to support voters who get their hands dirty for a living.

  4. At last the struggling citizens of Christchurch can see a ray of hope – fracking is now banned in this area no-one’s ever suggested exploring for oil. What a relief that must be for them! How lucky they are to have councillors so focused on the important issues facing the city!

    Seriously, if I was a Chch ratepayer I’d be finding out who participated in this ludicrous time-wasting so I could be sure to never vote for them again. They’ve clearly got nothing useful to contribute.

    • fender 4.1

      Must be an effort to show the beehive that they still have a little bit of power to make decisions for their area despite Brownlee & co deciding their fate.

    • Fortran 4.2

      Can somebody tell me when the last Frack took place in the Christchurch region ?
      It’s the bloody liquifaction that helped destroy Christchurch.
      Any Frack could not have happened in the circumstances.
      Stupid Council with nothing better to do.

      • L&M have exploratory permits in at least one region in Canterbury. They’re after coal seam gas (CSG) which, these days, is extracted primarily by fracking because it is cost-effective.

        Minister Heatley assured New Zealand on Q+A that there would be no fracking in Canterbury. But as evidence indicates, fracking is precisely the process L&M would use. So either he’s badly informed – or he’s using Dear Leader’s technique of lying to the masses and hoping he won’t be caught out.

        I think he’s been caught out well and truly;

    • Helen Marie 4.3

      No-one’s ever suggested exploring for oil in Christchurch City, no – but Canterbury, where the aquifers are that supply the town with it’s water…? Yes… unless you believe Phil “Unaware” Heatley over NZPAM… (Start searching permits here Psycho: and you’ll find out how he earned his nickname).

      Christchurch City, Selwyn District and Waimakiri Districts Councils all called on the govt to impose a moratorium on fracking. The government ignored them – so this is the next step. Good on them for actually listening to the well informed & reasoned concerns of their constituents over the ca-ching & spin of the Oil & Gas industry. They won’t be the only council to do this either!

  5. Spam 5

    I’m waiting for them to ban trucking and pile-driving too. You know, because of the ‘earthquakes’ they cause.

    • fender 5.1

      You might have to wait some time for that Spam, keep searching for the key to get you out of your predicament.

    • felix 5.2

      Yeah fracking and pile-driving are pretty much exactly the same thing. #ffs

      • Spam 5.2.1

        The magnitude of the tremors from pile driving are probably higher than those from fracking, so yeah, fair point.

        • felix

          But then again, you probably don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

          • Spam

            Ooh! Burn! With your inciteful comments and well-referenced points, I cede to your greater wisdom. I will henceforth ignore things like Scientific American (Still, researchers say it seems unlikely that fracking had anything to do with last weekend’s magnitude 5.6 quake. “There was a lot of deformation of the Earth here 300 million years ago that created huge geological structures in the subsurface that shift from time to time,” Keller says. “We have an unstable situation here, and it’s one reason why oil and gas is available here in the first place.”), or the Oklahoma Geological Survey which said that there may be a link between fracking and earthquakes, with events of magnitude 1.0 to 2.8 being recorded – you know, quakes that are “Micro earthquakes, not felt” and “generally not felt, but recorded”. Then there are claims of actual building damage from pile driving.

            • fender

              You may be getting confused between large bridge building projects and pile-driving for housing construction. I’m yet to see the proposal where huge bridge building is to take place in residential Chch.
              I applaud Chch. for moving quickly to ban fracking, because despite Heatly saying its sweet as, he dont know shit. Typical Nact behaviour to be all wise on issues where the mighty dollar has clouded their thinking.

              • insider

                Is Christchurch banning trucks too? According to GNS a passing truck generates as much if not more vibration as the ‘earthquakes’ associated with fracking activity.

                • fender

                  No, speed restrictions should be adequate in sensitive areas dont you think.

                • burt

                  Seems like we should ban all trucking around Taupo and see if that the seismic/geothermal activity increases or decreases. Yes, lets test that – we own the railroad so government can mandate all freight travels via rail between about Waiouru & Tauranga. Any major industry in that zone that is not close to railway lines … tough, get over it !

                  Where do we stand on tourist busses ?

                  • You don’t.

                    You ride in them.

                    • Gosman

                      Ahhh Frank.

                      I have a proposition for you.

                      I see you are quite adament that there will be an election this year.

                      I’m willing to donate $100 of my money to a cause of your choice if you are correct if you are willing to do the same for a cause of my choice if you are wrong.

                      So how says you? Are you willing to put your money where your mouth is or do you just make bold predictions which bear no relation to reality, (much the same as you accuse the National led Government of doing)?

              • Spam

                Why does there need to be any bridge building? There is no fracking going on in christchurch, and it didn’t stop them banning that. However, if they build new multi-story buildings, I suspect they will need pile driving (and I have been told that some residential areas are going to need piles > 20m; a ridiculously long pile).

    • False argument.

      Do you have anything more coherent?

  6. venezia 6

    Just to enlighten psychomilt and others – Energy companies have applied for permits to explore for coal seam gas and shale gas (which almost inevitably requires fracking) in the South island and Canterbury. Permit 52605 in Canterbury is already granted, while approval for permit 52614 is pending. The latter covers a large area to the north and west of Christchurch including Rolleston, Dunsandel and Rangiora – all areas which have been impacted by thousands of earthquakes already.

    • burt 6.1

      My goodness, just the permits seem enough…. How powerful is the RMA !

      We should pick an area in NZ that is way less prone to earthquakes and apply for some some fracking permits over that.

      But seriously, thanks for the clarification over fracking in Canterbury.

  7. Received this a few months ago

    Kia Ora,

    New Zealand’s award-winning filmmakers Tom and Sumner Burstyn (Oscar-short listed last year for their doco This Way of Life) were planning to take a year off from film making.

    But they have abandoned their plan because they’re so disturbed by the lack of informed debate in NZ around a major new environmental issue. Fracking.

    We found your website and believe you and your online audience/members may have an interest in this; a new film from Cloud South that will present a clear-eyed, comprehensive, scientifically sound look at fracking in New Zealand – a film that answers all those questions.

    While it’s early days our research has already revealed some extraordinary previously unreported issues.

    We reach out to you in the hope that you may consider featuring news about this important film on your blog and sharing information about this project with your followers/affiliates.

    On February 27th Cloud South will be announcing the film and releasing a hard hitting trailer.

    If you’d like to be kept in the loop please do join our mailing list.

    Mailing List :

    Nga Mihi nui

    Cloud South Films

  8. more on fracking from Gasland

    Hydraulic Fracturing FAQs
    How does hydraulic fracturing work?
    Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a means of natural gas extraction employed in deep natural gas well drilling. Once a well is drilled, millions of gallons of water, sand and proprietary chemicals are injected, under high pressure, into a well. The pressure fractures the shale and props open fissures that enable natural gas to flow more freely out of the well.
    What is horizontal hydraulic fracturing?
    Horizontal hydrofracking is a means of tapping shale deposits containing natural gas that were previously inaccessible by conventional drilling. Vertical hydrofracking is used to extend the life of an existing well once its productivity starts to run out, sort of a last resort. Horizontal fracking differs in that it uses a mixture of 596 chemicals, many of them proprietary, and millions of gallons of water per frack. This water then becomes contaminated and must be cleaned and disposed of.
    What is the Halliburton Loophole?
    In 2005, the Bush/ Cheney Energy Bill exempted natural gas drilling from the Safe Drinking Water Act. It exempts companies from disclosing the chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing. Essentially, the provision took the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) off the job. It is now commonly referred to as the Halliburton Loophole.
    What is the Safe Drinking Water Act?
    In 1974, the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was passed by Congress to ensure clean drinking water free from both natural and man-made contaminates.
    What is the FRAC Act?
    The FRAC Act (Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness to Chemical Act) is a House bill intended to repeal the Halliburton Loophole and to require the natural gas industry to disclose the chemicals they use.
    How deep do natural gas wells go?
    The average well is up to 8,000 feet deep. The depth of drinking water aquifers is about 1,000 feet. The problems typically stem from poor cement well casings that leak natural gas as well as fracking fluid into water wells.
    How much water is used during the fracking process?
    Generally 1-8 million gallons of water may be used to frack a well. A well may be fracked up to 18 times.
    What fluids are used in the fracking process?
    For each frack, 80-300 tons of chemicals may be used. Presently, the natural gas industry does not have to disclose the chemicals used, but scientists have identified volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene.
    In what form does the natural gas come out of the well?
    The gas comes up wet in produced water and has to be separated from the wastewater on the surface. Only 30-50% of the water is typically recovered from a well. This wastewater can be highly toxic.
    What is done with the wastewater?
    Evaporators evaporate off VOCs and condensate tanks steam off VOCs, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The wastewater is then trucked to water treatment facilities.
    What is a well’s potential to cause air pollution?
    As the VOCs are evaporated and come into contact with diesel exhaust from trucks and generators at the well site, ground level ozone is produced. Ozone plumes can travel up to 250 miles.

  9. David H 9

    And whats to stop Jabba taking over the council under the CERA rules?? Then Poof All gone. What anti Fraking agreement???

  10. Phil Heatley has already made up his mind on fracking. On Q&A to day he said he had ‘no concerns.’

    • I think Heatley is either badly informed, or he’s telling fibs. Because L&M have not ruled out fracking, and have indicated it’s use, as I wrote in my blogpost, ” Did the Minister lie to New Zealand?”

  11. aerobubble 11

    Breaking containment of under ground hydrocarbon resource trapped by the geological strata, will inevitably lead to water sources above being contaminated, and its a crock to say that just because it hasn’t happened in a decade does not mean it will never happen ever. When those resources came about and were concentrated by become trapped due to the geological strata!!! Once opened up, however deep, and since all of the resource is not recovered, it will eventually find its way to the surface. So its shocking to hear the mining minister say its all okay, the resources are deeper than is common in other countries. That just makes the leakage take LONGER to pollute the water sources we rely on.

  12. Red Rosa 12

    In the US, industry has the law on its side, in a number of states.

    This is truly extraordinary.

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