Austrian-oil giant OMV has made an application to discharge trace amounts of harmful substances off its oil drilling ship when it attempts to explore the Great South Basin this year. It’s critical that we continue to stand strong at every step of this oil giant’s project. This means urging the Environmental Protection Authority to refuse the application. 

Submissions to the EPA close on Monday 27th May at 5 pm.

Read 350 Aotearoa’s submission below and click here to submit your own.

350 Aotearoa strongly oppose OMV GSB’s application to discharge trace harmful substances in the Great South Basin. It is imperative the Environmental Protection Authority take a precautionary approach and refuse OMV GSB’s application in order to protect the threatened biodiversity, the interests of the local community and economy, and our commitments to act on climate change.

The application for OMV to discharge harmful substances poses a threat to the unique biodiversity of the Great South Basin and adjacent Otago Coastline.

  • The Otago Peninsula is commonly described as the wildlife capital of New Zealand and is a world-renowned ecotourism attraction. The ecotourism industry supports many local businesses and provides employment for local Dunedin residents.
  • Conservation projects have been supported by local businesses and many local volunteer groups to initiate the regeneration of biodiversity in the Otago region.
  • The Great South Basin and adjacent Otago coastline is home to many valued marine and coastal species including the sea lion, royal albatross, little blue penguin, and yellow-eyed penguin. These endemic species are already critically threatened or endangered.
  • Recent oil spills recorded by Maritime New Zealand alone, demonstrate that OMV cannot ensure that its operations will meet the ‘trace’ requirements of an approved application.
  • In the case of an oil spill, OMV and government officials do not have the means to adequately rectify the damage caused by the spill.
  • Given the value of our endangered and critically threatened wildlife, OMV’s plans put these species at great risk. In turn, the local culture and economy associated with this environment and its wildlife are also put at risk.
  • Therefore, we urge the Board of Inquiry to take a precautionary approach and refuse OMV’s application to discharge trace harmful substances.

The application for OMV to discharge harmful substances enables the company to pursue oil and gas extraction which goes against the interests of local communities and the New Zealand Government’s climate commitments.

  • Pathways consistent with preventing a global temperature rise beyond 1.5°C require an immediate end to new oil and gas projects.
  • Global fossil fuel reserves are between 2,734 and 5,385 GtCO. In order to stay under 1.5°C temperature rise, we must cap our total future emissions between now and 2100 to about 120 GtCO2e. Known fossil fuel reserves are equivalent to 23 and 45 times more than we can afford to burn. There is no place for further oil and gas exploration with the current state of our climate.
  • The New Zealand Government has made a commitment to curb global temperature rise to 1.5°C. OMV GSB’s application and corresponding project go against these efforts.
  • 350 Aotearoa recognise that climate change and threats to the environment are issues of social inequality; those who contribute the most greenhouse gases will not see the largest impacts of climate change.
  • South Dunedin is a pertinent example of a community who already faces the impacts of climate change and does not benefit from the pursuit of further oil and gas exploration, but rather is only put at further risk.

We urge the Environmental Protection Authority to uphold the principles of science, our national climate commitments, and our responsibilities to those on the frontline of environmental impacts and refuse OMV’s application to discharge trace harmful substances, given it enables the pursuit of more oil and gas.

Further comments:

350 Aotearoa submit in support of Oil Free Otago and other community groups taking a stand against further oil drilling by OMV in the Great South Basin.

Click here to make your submission with the EPA.

Here are some tips on making your own submission:

  • Familiarise yourself with the application and supporting information.
  • Stick to the current application – don’t get distracted by other matters.
  • Focus on the effects of the application.
  • Be specific about your concerns and how you want them addressed.
  • Say what you want.
  • Don’t use offensive language.
  • Write in clear and simple everyday language.
  • Include all of the points you want to make.
  • View OMV’s application to the EPA here.