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CSIRO rejects coal seam gas claims


July 10, 2019 by admin

The CSIRO has rejected claims made by the coal seam gas industry in a new TV advertising campaign, and asked last week that the ads not be aired.

The commercial includes the statement: “CSIRO [and government studies] have shown that groundwater is safe with coal seam gas”.

However, the national science body said this afternoon that this claim was not true.

“At no time has CSIRO made such a statement, and nor do the results of CSIRO research support such a statement,” the organisation said.

“CSIRO has stated on the public record that coal seam gas extraction is likely to pose a ‘low risk’ to groundwater quality through contamination,” it said.

The TV commercials were produced for the coal seam gas industry body, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, which said it had “taken the CSIRO’s comments on board”.

The ads were aired on Sunday night in Queensland where the gas industry is rapidly expanding, and are part of a campaign that reportedly cost $2.5 million to put together.

“APPEA has created a number of ads for its latest CSG campaign that relate to economic benefit, environmental protection, energy security and technological know-how,” a spokesman for the industry body said.

“All of our ads have been approved as factual by the independent advertising regulator. The ads we run, where we run them, and when we run them, will be determined over the months ahead. However, we have taken CSIRO’s comments on board.”

The statement, released today by the national science body, said: “CSIRO has also indicated that groundwater levels will fall as a consequence of coal seam gas extraction. In some places this could see aquifer levels subside by tens of metres for tens of years; in others it is likely to reduce aquifer levels by several metres for several hundred years.”

The CSIRO said it became aware of the ads last Friday and “requested for the commercial not to be aired”.

The activist group Lock the Gate and the Greens also asked for the ads to be taken off air.

The gas industry in Australia has maintained for years that gas drilling does not significantly affect the underground water aquifers that farmers rely on.

More than 10,000 coal seam gas wells are planned for Queensland, to be drilled over the next decade.

The industry is also expanding in NSW, with at least 4000 wells proposed over the coming decade.

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