Environmental group slams CSIRO over a fracking report

THE Lock The Gate Alliance has slammed the CSIRO after realising a report on fracking that used a small sample size.

CSIRO's Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA) examined the impact of fracking in Queensland, however has been criticised for sampling only six of the approximately 19,000 wells in the sunshine state.

The Australia Institute released an analysis of the GISERA air, water and soil fracking report on July 15, which thoroughly critiqued GISERA's fracking report, titled Air, water and soil impacts of hydraulic fracturing (HF) in the Surat Basin, Queensland.

GISERA is an alliance of companies including Santos, Origin Energy, Shell, China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Tokyo Gas, alongside the CSIRO.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt used GISERA's report to claim it proved fracking was 'safe', according to Lock The Gate.

But The Australia Institute's analysis of the report emphasised that the results were not representative or scalable for Queensland's coal seam gas (CSG) operations as a whole, and expressed concern about significant adverse effects associated with potential spills of fracking fluids.

The Australia Institute's analysis also showed GISERA's study was overseen by the gas industry and was based on just six Origin Energy-owned gas wells.

The analysis also revealed gas companies Santos and APLNG (led by Origin) paid 75 per cent of the $2.26 million research budget of the GISERA air water and soil fracking impacts research.

Lock the Gate Queensland spokeswoman Ellie Smith called for Mr Pitt to apologise for his comments, particularly to the farmers and communities who had been negatively impacted by fracking.

"Just like we wouldn't accept cancer research paid for by a tobacco company, we shouldn't be accepting fracking research paid for by gas companies," Ms Smith said.

"For a senior federal minister to then parrot this limited research and then make sweeping claims adds insult to injury for the local people and farmers who have suffered first hand as a result of the unconventional gas industry.

"The good name of CSIRO should not continue to be sullied thanks to GISERA's close financial links with the gas industry."

Griffith University professor Ian Lowe said the GISERA report showed only the short-term environmental impacts of the six wells that were studied.

"It says nothing about either the long-term risks at those sites or the safety of the other sites among the 19,000 operated," he said.

"The credibility of GISERA is fatally compromised by having gas company executives on its research management committees.

"The way GISERA operates does not pass the pub test."

Mr Lowe called on GISERA and Mr Pitt to apologise for spreading 'inaccurate' claim that CSIRO made that 'fracking is safe for the environment.'


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