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PR spin on coal seam gas to be closely watched

Any false claims made by the public relations campaign to put a positive spin on coal seam gas will be immediately reported to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Australian Greens spokesperson for mining Senator Larissa Waters said today.

The campaign was announced yesterday by the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA), and is backed by companies such as AGL, PetroChina and Shell.

“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,” Senator 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 seal gas, and a spin campaign won’t answer their concerns.”

To view the full Galaxy survey, please visit; http://greensmps.org.au/webfm_send/585

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