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Unprecedented attack on independent science by Federal Resources Minister

The Lock The Gate Alliance has called on the Federal Resources Minister, Martin Ferguson, to resign after he attacked a new study on fugitive emissions from coal seam gas mining without having read it.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported comments by the Minister to an energy conference in Sydney on Tuesday, in which he described the scientists involved as ‘people who are trying to score political points without proper consideration of the best interests of the broader community’.

“The statements made yesterday by Martin Ferguson are an unprecedented attack on science and a disgraceful smear on the scientific integrity of Southern Cross University and its researchers,” said Carmel Flint, campaign co-ordinator with Lock The Gate Alliance.

“It seems that the Minister is so enamoured of the coal seam gas industry that he is incapable of making balanced or informed decisions about resource extraction in this country.

“The University has made it clear that the preliminary research was released in order to provide input into Federal Government policies on carbon accounting and coal seam gas.

“It is extraordinary that the Federal Government would invite submissions into measuring greenhouse gas emissions and then attack the scientists who responded to it.

“The proper reaction from any sensible government would have been to urgently amend carbon accounting methodologies to address the new study and to commission more independent research.

“This unprecedented attack on science by the Minister appears designed to further the interests of gas companies no matter what the cost to the wider community.

“As the ugly truth of the NSW mining corruption scandal casts a pall over the NSW Labor Party, all governments should be moving to restore objectivity and rebuild the faith of communities in the independence of government from big mining.

“The Prime Minister should now ask Minister Ferguson to resign and ensure that greenhouse gas accounting methods are amended to take into account this ground-breaking new science,” she said.

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