Reports I back CSG are wrong and misleading: Flannery

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Climate Commission chief Tim Flannery said yesterday a report by The Australian that he was a “backer” of the coal seam gas industry was wrong and a misrepresentation.

Professor Flannery said he was disappointed by The Australian’s coverage of his speech at the NSW Minerals Council environment and community conference earlier this week.

He said the article “seriously misrepresents my view and bears no resemblance to the speech I delivered”.

During the speech, attended by Australian Mining, Flannery came out in broad support of the mining industry and recognised its importance to modern life.

But he said the industry faced big problems from rising community opposition to its projects.

The Australian later reported that Flannery had “spoken out in support of the coal-seam gas industry”.

But in a statement released yesterday Flannery said the report he was a “backer” of the coal seam gas industry was wrong.

“This is not only wrong, but a serious misrepresentation of my speech …” he said.

“What I in fact said at the meeting of environmental workers in the minerals industry is that serious conflicts exist between the coal seam gas industry and landowners, and that the industry faces enormous challenges as a result.”

In the speech Flannery said he had met with farmers that had told him the conduct of some coal seam gas companies on their land had made it “impossible” for them to run their business.

He said there had been little research on the impact of coal seam gas on the environment, but CSG companies needed to be better regulated.

Australian Mining contacted The Australian this morning but it refused to comment.

“I am very disappointed that I have been misrepresented and the public has been misinformed as to my view,” Flannery said.

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