Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mining Our Heritage Away

The NZ govt is going to allow petrol and mining exploration in our marine mammal sanctuaries! WTF??!!
Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson defends a decision for seismic surveying and mining exploration to proceed in marine sanctuaries, saying it'll be restricted to minimise harm to marine mammals. Prime Minister John Key, a party to this betrayal, has ruled out mining in World Heritage Sites. So...what? Will it then be free rein in all other sanctuaries?
Hector's: in harm's way
Oil companies have been granted ten permits in four of the protected areas - the Greens are worried marine mammals like the Hector's dolphin, the critically endangered Maui's dolphin, whales and fur seals are at risk.
There are six existing sanctuaries meant to be permanent refuges for rare dolphins, whales and seals and other mammals. Ms Wilkinson says another eight are being set that meant to appease us?
Seismic surveying uses airguns to produce powerful underwater sounds. Scientists say air guns can cause deafness in animals if they're too close. Otago University marine scientist, associate professor Steve Dawson's advice on how the surveying would affect wildlife was requested by the govt...then ignored. He says marine mammals have stranded as a result of acoustic surveying and could go deaf from the sound: "The only things louder than air guns in the ocean are big explosions." The govt says it'll regulate seismic testing by putting observers on survey ships and reviewing a 2006 code of practice.
In April, Forest and Bird demanded seismic testing off Taranaki be halted to save Maui's dolphins. It cited a mass stranding in Peru as evidence that deep water sonar can be harmful: the dolphins had damage to their middle-ear bones, a sign of "the bends". It also noted the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management halted seismic surveys after sick and dead calf bottlenose dolphins washed up in New Orleans.
For NZ, a country that criticises Japan for hunting in a marine sanctuary, this seems a case of "do as I say, not as I do"!!!

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