Anti-coal and anti-gas campaigns go hand in hand

QUEENSLAND Resources Council CEO Michael Roche has warned the gas industry that it is under as much threat from activists as its coal counterparts.
Anti-coal and anti-gas campaigns go hand in hand Anti-coal and anti-gas campaigns go hand in hand Anti-coal and anti-gas campaigns go hand in hand Anti-coal and anti-gas campaigns go hand in hand Anti-coal and anti-gas campaigns go hand in hand

Michael Roche

Andrew Snelling

Roche addressed a meeting of the Queensland Petroleum Exploration Association in Brisbane yesterday, telling them that those running the campaign against coal had taken ideas from the perceived success of the anti-coal seam gas movement.

“The activists’ 2012 campaign manual –Stopping the Australian Coal Export Boom – praises what it describes as Lock the Gate’s ‘phenomenal community backlash’ against coal seam gas,” Roche said.

“The document goes on to credit Lock the Gate with creating ‘unprecedented political opportunities for coal activists around the country’

“As we know, the scare campaigns against the coal and gas industries are continuing and, supported by other strategies, including litigation to ‘disrupt and delay’ key projects, changing the economic narrative via bogus economic reports and denying all reputable forecasts with claims that fossil fuel demand is declining.”

A scorecard released by the QRC compares the progress of the anti-gas movement in comparison to the anti-coal campaign strategies revealed in Stopping the Australian Coal Export Boom, which was written by several groups including Greenpeace.

The checklist identifies a number of actions by anti-gas campaigners and pulls out some key building blocks of the campaign.

Making the list are: litigation to stop or delay projects in order to buy time to build a stronger opposition, alliances with those who wish to protect the Great Barrier Reef, referencing dredging and ship routes, challenging the economics with stories of environmental and health effects and creating investor uncertainty.

Roche’s comments came as the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association issued a statement damning the New South Wales Labor Party’s “continued politicisation of gas development”

“As a resources minister in a former ALP government, John Robertson supported the sensible development of a NSW gas industry and oversaw the industry’s expansion,” the regulatory body said.

“Yet today he has chosen to align his party with the Greens scare campaign, issuing a statement that says: ‘Fraccing causes all sorts of consequences and raises very serious concerns about contamination to water aquifers’

“This is a statement that ignores both science and 60 years of demonstrated experience.

“Rather than seeking to scare voters, Mr Robertson should instead be telling them fraccing has been used safely around the world in more than 2 million oil and gas wells since 1948.”