The Environmental Protection Authority’s hearing on recapture rules for the log fumigant methyl bromide will take place entirely online, due to the national rise in COVID-19 alert levels.
Methyl bromide, a toxic and ozone-depleting substance. is mainly used to disinfect logs and timber products destined for export to certain countries.
Recapture was required by October this year. This deadline has been extended until April next year while a modified reassessment hearing takes place.
A Decision-making Committee began the hearing on Tuesday this week, to consider the definition and timing of recapture rules. The hearing is being held online, with the Decision-making Committee attending remotely.
Some submitters were due to participate in person at venues in Auckland, Wellington, and Tauranga, but will now need to make their submissions via Zoom video conferencing.
EPA staff will be in touch with these submitters. From the outset, the public has had access to the hearing via Zoom and that will continue (see the link below). But questions are only open to submitters.
The modified reassessment was initiated by the industry group Stakeholders In Methyl Bromide Reduction (STIMBR). It means the scope of the hearing is limited to the controls of use for methyl bromide, including recapture. The approval to import or manufacture the gas cannot be revoked as part of this modified reassessment.
The EPA says it is committed to being completely transparent in the reassessment process. All of the material before the Decision-making Committee is available on its website.
Source: Environmental Protection Authority