Phil Heatley - Asshole of the Week | The Jackal

29 Mar 2012

Phil Heatley - Asshole of the Week

Yesterday, the National party reported:

Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley has welcomed the inquiry into fracking announced today by Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright.

“I look forward to the results of this inquiry. It will enable us to move forward with confidence and a clear understanding of what’s fact and what’s fiction,” Mr Heatley said.

“This inquiry will enable us to consider all our options around fracking, from the consenting process through to work in the field.

Clearly there's a lot more riding on the inquiry than just the way National hands out permits like lollies and how the oil and gas industry goes about fracking New Zealand. There's the question of safety and whether fracking should be occurring at all?

Today, Green MP Gareth Hughes asked Heatley a very direct question:

Will he implement a nationwide moratorium on new fracking wells until the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment can assure the public it is safe?

Phil Heatley said that there would be no moratorium on fracking while the inquiry was being undertaken. He then made a completely unrelated analogy concerning 1080 to justify the idiotic decision.

But that's not the only reason he's won an asshole award. When Gareth Hughes asserted the fact that there had already been fracking incidents in New Zealand that have caused water contamination:

Given we've seen well blowouts, water contamination and consents being breached right now in Taranaki, isn't it prudent to wait until the results are in so we can answer those questions and make sure we've got regulations and practices to protect our water, to protect our communities and to protect our health?

Heatley answered with a boldfaced lie:

The independent body Taranaki regional council went to Hill Laboratories, which is independent to, did water testing who found no effects on water quality.

Gareth Hughes then tabled the Shell Todd Oil Kapuni study (PDF) and the Cheal Petroleum study, both jointly published by the Taranaki regional council that showed water contamination (above the consent limits).

The problem is that most of the acutely toxic chemicals used in fracking are environmentally hazardous, with any amount of discharge damaging. In many cases there is no known safe level of contamination. This is especially the case in context of their cumulative toxic effect.

Gareth Hughes had previously raised the issue in Parliament on 29 February 2012 and tabled documents that Heatley should have read. There have also been a number of MSM reports of groundwater contamination at the Kapuni sites where fracking had occurred, which Heatley as the Energy and Resources Minister should have also read.

If he was unaware, he is therefore completely incompetent and has no place being a Member of Parliament. If he was aware, which is likely the case, he was misleading the House of Representatives. Either way, he's most assuredly an Asshole!