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Lock the Gate calls for GISERA to be disbanded over flawed fracking report

A report by the gas-industry funded organisation GISERA on the safety of fracking totally lacks independence, scientific rigour, and did not sample anywhere near enough gas wells for a comprehensive conclusion, according to new analysis. 

Today, The Australia Institute released its analysis of the GISERA air, water and soil fracking report - a thorough critique of a fracking report released by GISERA (Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance) in April.

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

Politicians including Resources Minister Keith Pitt subsequently used GISERA’s flawed report to erroneously claim it proved fracking was safe.

But TAI’s analysis of the report shows even GISERA didn’t go that far in its claims, with the report emphasising that the results were not representative or scalable for QLD CSG operations as a whole, and expressing concern about significant adverse effects associated with potential spills of fracking fluids.

TAI’s analysis also showed GISERA’s study was actually overseen by the gas industry and was based on just six Origin-Energy owned gas wells. There are at least 19,000 operating or plugged coal seam gas wells in Queensland.

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

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

She also called for GISERA to be disbanded.

“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.

“Mr Pitt should apologise for making incorrect comments about CSIRO to justify his own obsession with coal seam gas.

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

Professor Ian Lowe of Griffith University said, “What the GISERA research shows is that no short-term environmental problems were found at six sites chosen by the operator. It says nothing about either the long-term risks at those sites or the safety of the other sites among the 19,000 operated.

“GISERA should publicly correct the inaccurate claim of Minister Pitt’s media release that the ‘CSIRO report confirms fracking is safe for the environment’.

“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.”

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