An advertising campaign to promote coal seam gas (CSG) in a bid to “balance” the mounting community opposition to the industry has been launched by the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA).
APPEA have dubbed the effort “We want CSG”, and say it is an “information campaign” designed to focus on “investment, jobs, environmental benefits, and enormous opportunities that this industry generates”.
This comes as a NSW parliamentary inquiry is set to commence investigations with a view to determining the social, environmental, economic and health impacts of the CSG industry in NSW.
The APPEA campaign hits out at opposition to the CSG industry, describing the concerns as largely “alarmist and their claims unsubstantiated”.
But it is unlikely that this industry campaign will be sufficient to appease the communities in both the cities and regional areas of New South Wales and Queensland that are calling for scientific studies into the long-term impacts of CSG mining.
The peak campaigning body, Lock the Gate, now represents more than 100 residents’ groups who are lobbying for a moratorium and full inquiry into the industry.
Greens Senator Larissa Waters responded to the ‘We want CSG’ campaign in a September 5 statement.
“APPEA are saying that this campaign will be based on facts, yet they have begun with a major unsubstantiated claim — that communities are saying they want coal seam gas,” Waters said.
“A recent Galaxy survey of over a thousand people has indicated the opposite – that 68 per cent of Australians want coal seam gas operations to be halted until the long-term health and environmental impacts are known.
“A ‘We Want CSG’ campaign is in itself misleading, because most of us don’t want CSG until we know it’s safe.
“We welcome a genuine fact-based debate on coal seam gas, particularly because we have very few facts about the long-term effects of coal seam gas on our groundwater systems and environment.
“The fact is it’s not proven that coal seam gas can co-exist with agriculture, because we don’t know enough about long-term CSG impacts on connections between underground aquifers.
“The rush to cover our prime agricultural land with gas wells puts the future of our food security at risk.
“If APPEA mislead the public about the safety of coal seam gas operations, we will immediately report them to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
“The Australian public are right to be very concerned about coal seam gas, and a spin campaign won’t answer their concerns.”
In NSW, Greens mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham pointed out the increasing reliance from the mining industry on advertising, rather than improved work practice and scientific data to win community support.
“Santos has already spent millions on a glossy advertising campaign, now APPEA have said they’ll spend as much as it takes to turn around opinion,” said Buckingham.
APPEA said in a September 4 statement that the ‘We want CSG’ campaign is backed by some of Australia’s largest energy companies including AGL, Santos, and Origin Energy, and by major foreign investors such as BG Group, Arrow Energy, and ConocoPhillips.
[Republished from http://www.kateausburn.com ]