Environmental decisions: sometimes scientific, sometimes management
Writing for National Times on 20 September, Greens Senator Larissa Waters said:
Recently the coal seam gas industry was slapped down over its spin campaign claiming the CSIRO said CSG is safe for groundwater. The CSIRO publicly denied ever saying CSG is safe for groundwater. In fact, both CSIRO and the National Water Commission say the long-term impacts of CSG on water systems are still not well understood.
And yet state and federal governments haven’t waited to establish this science, but instead allowed CSG drilling to spread across the country, with potentially irreversible consequences. The new independent scientific expert committee may help us complete some of this urgent research – but both the ALP Government and the Coalition, including the Nationals, have refused to press pause on coal seam gas until this science is in.
In case you missed it, here is what CSIRO had to say about the coal seam gas industry body APPEA getting creative with its interpretation of the science around coal seam gas extraction and its impact on water resources:
CSIRO rejects the claim made in a television commercial aired on Sunday 2 September that ‘CSIRO [and government studies] have shown that groundwater is safe with coal seam gas’.
At no time has CSIRO made such a statement, and nor do the results of CSIRO research support such a statement. [...]
CSIRO became aware of the advertisement produced by Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) via a scan of social media on Friday 31 August and requested for the commercial to not be aired.
And APPEA? Well they said they’ve ”taken the CSIRO’s comments on board”. Good of them.
Is ‘science’ only used to underpin our environmental promotion and decision making when it seems politically useful?