GROUNDSWELL Gloucester has hit out at the Energy Resource Information Centre (ERIC) and its endorsement of the natural gas industry.
The industry-funded centre claims to be a new fact-based, evidence led, source of information about natural gas exploration and development in Australia.
But opponents say there is nothing new about ERIC.
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“It is all recycled from existing websites, media releases and opinion pieces from (industry body) APPEA and its members,” Groundswell chair Julie Lyford said.
“The content is a clever consolidation of truth, part-truth, misdirection and omission. Often the distortion is not in what is said but that left unsaid.”
Ms Lyford said some of the information published by the centre is inconsistent.
“The site repeats that fracking fluid is mainly water and sand, and the other ingredients ‘are found in many household products such as toothpaste, baked goods, ice cream, food additives, detergents and soap’. When was the last time you found biocide in your icecream?” she said.
“There are inconsistencies, such as saying BTEX is found naturally but that you won’t find it in fracking fluid because it is banned. The fact that in NSW it won’t be in the fluid when it goes down the well but it may be there when it comes back up.”
She said much of the literature published by the centre amounted to little more than spin.
“The fact that the National Assembly of Local Government refused to ban CSG is taken to be their recognition of the benefits of CSG. This same illogic is used to say that because the Valuer General is unable to find clear evidence that CSG reduces land prices, then that is evidence that there is no effect,” she said.
“‘Independently sourced and scientifically correct’ sounds impressive but no scientific study would be so one-sided and omit so much. The NSW Office of Coal Seam Gas (OCSG) is commended by APPEA for being an independent regulatory authority, which is what they are supposed to be.
“It would be more accurate to describe them as partners in propaganda. The OCSG website has the same bias as ERIC - showing all the benefits in glossy colour but not mentioning the costs. The OCSG has consistently shilled for the CSG industry and hindered open discussion since it was formed.
“Given the huge expenditure on advertising and PR through so many existing channels you have wonder why APPEA must produce yet another.”