CRP: EPA Clarification on Status of Staff Report Welcomed (New Zealand)
Chatham Rock Phosphate today welcomed a clarification issued by the Environmental Protection Authority regarding its staff report issued yesterday.
The EPA in its announcement said the process for considering the application was still at an early stage. “Further information on the application and its effects is to come from both the applicant, and in the form of evidence and submissions from other parties. Our assessment of that information has the potential to alter the recommendations made in our current Staff Report,” EPA General Manager of Applications and Assessment Sarah Gardner said.
She went on to say the staff report was not the decision on the application and the Decision-making Committee appointed by the EPA Board to hear and decide the application may make a different decision to that recommended by EPA staff.
Managing director Chris Castle reiterated yesterday’s comment that the staff report was premature and would have had more value had the information requested by the EPA been provided and taken into account. Having said that, Mr Castle acknowledged that CRP is in a statutory process and it imposes pressures on everyone involved, including the EPA.
Mr Castle said CRP was in the process of completing evidence and providing responses to 62 questions – some of which required detailed consideration and further research.
He noted the staff report was a snapshot, based on the information available at the time. The cut-off for the information was 1 August and so it did not include considerable information that has since been supplied and was continuing to be gathered.
“Based on the information we are amassing, and the evidence that is near completion, we remain confident we can provide a compelling case for the grant of a Marine Consent later this year. We also note the EPA’s comment that the staff are not the decision makers – the Decision Making Committee is,” he said.
“We believe we have provided and will provide the necessary information to address all of the issues raised in the report, and that the Decision Making Committee will have the evidence it requires to enable a Marine Consent to be granted.”
Mr Castle said CRP remained confident the company has done the work to show it can undertake its mining operations in a sustainable way, and the Marine Consent process would demonstrate this.
Press Release, August 19, 2014