Decision on the TTR marine consent application
The Decision-making Committee appointed by the EPA Board to decide on the application by Trans-Tasman Resources Ltd for a marine consent has delivered its decision.
In summary, Trans-Tasman Resources Ltd (TTR) sought a marine consent under the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012 ( the EEZ Act) to undertake iron ore extraction and processing operations. The application area was 65.76 square kilometres, located between 22 and 36 kilometres (12 and 19 nautical miles) offshore in the South Taranaki Bight.
The Decision-making Committee (DMC) appointed by the Environmental Protection Authority to hear and determine the marine consent application, has REFUSED consent.
The DMC has issued a comprehensive decision setting out its reasons for refusing the consent. The major reasons for this were the uncertainties in the scope and significance of the potential adverse environmental effects and those on existing interests (such as the Fishing Interests and Iwi). The applicant and most submitters acknowledged that there was uncertainty and that in these circumstance the EEZ Act requires the EPA to favour caution and environmental protection (sections 61(2) of the EEZ Act). With respect to uncertainty, the DMC considered whether the adaptive management approach proposed by the applicant would enable the application to be undertaken (sections 61(3) of the EEZ Act). The DMC found that the conditions proposed by the applicant (including the adaptive management approach) were not sufficiently certain or robust for the application to be approved given the uncertainty and inadequacy of the information presented about the potential adverse effects. The DMC also considered that there was also a lack of clarity about the extent of economic benefit to New Zealand outside of royalties and taxes and the economic value of the adverse effects.
Overall the DMC found that the application did not meet the sustainable management purpose of EEZ Act, including that it was not satisfied that the life-supporting capacity of the environment would be safeguarded or that the adverse effects of the proposal could be avoided, remedied or mitigated, given the uncertainty and inadequacy of the information presented.
Appeals to the High Court on question of law
Sections 105 to 112 of the EEZ Act contain the process for making an appeal on a marine consent decision. The ability to appeal the decision is limited to the applicant and any submitter on the application. Appeals must be on a question of law.
Parties considering an appeal should contact their solicitor, the New Zealand High Court or visit http://www.justice.govt.nz for details. It is recommended that any parties considering appealing take legal advice. A fee is required for filing an appeal.
Appeals must be filed with the Registrar of the High Court and served on the EPA within 15 working days of receiving the decision.
Appeals should be filed with the Registrar at:
New Zealand High Court
2 Molesworth Street
Telephone: (04) 914 3600
Fax: (04) 914 3603
A copy of any appeal must be served on the EPA at:
Environmental Protection Authority
Private Bag 63002
Attn: Chief Legal Advisor