Lock the Gate Alliance admits to misleading report




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The Lock the Gate Alliance, an outspoken national lobby group opposed to coal seam gas exploration, has admitted aspects of its submission to state and federal CSG inquiries may be misleading.

The submission’s inaccuracies stem from parallels it attempted to draw between Australia’s CSG developments and the shale gas industry in the United States.

The alliance’s submission adapts US shale references in a Cornell University study and attempts to make it look relevant to Australia’s industry.

While gas from CSG deposits and shale deposits are chemically very similar, there are significant differences in their extraction methods.

CSG reservoirs are shallower and have a higher concentration of gas than shale reservoirs.

As a result shale reservoirs always require fracking, while only around half of CSG deposits do.

But there are still significant risks posed by CSG developments, including lowering the water table, gas contamination of aquifers, and leaking wells.

Lock the Gate spokesperson Drew Hutton told the Financial Review he was sorry if aspects of the alliance’s submission were incorrect.

“I wasn’t attempting to pretend it was a study into coal seam gas,” he said.

“Everyone knows it wasn’t and it would have been ridiculous for me to have done that.”

He said the alliance application had been made in good faith and if there were inaccuracies they were not designed to stoke public opposition.

“If I [changed references] it was a genuine mistake,” he said.

“I wasn’t trying to fool anyone into thinking otherwise.”

Hutton said making a comparison between CSG and shale gas was not unreasonable.

“I’ve been in contact with the report’s author who said they were looking at CSG at the same time and they are pretty sure the same things apply to CSG as apply to shale gas,” he said.

The fight over Queensland’s rapidly expanding CSG industry has been an often divisive argument.

In the latest action, heated arguments last week lead to a group of QLD landholders locking their gates to mining exploration by Bowen Energy.

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