Websites have become the latest tools in the ongoing battle between farmers and environmentalists on one side and Coal Seam Gas companies on the other over access rights to agricultural land and environmentally sensitive areas.
In launching its “We Want CSG” advertising campaign earlier this month the CSG industry’s peak representative body APPEA (the Australian Petroleum and Production & Exploration Association) established a companion website to promote the benefits of CSG production.
The www.wewantcsg.com.au site highlights the jobs and economic investment that the CSG industry has created in regional Australia, the high levels of royalties and tax revenue it has generated for the New South Wales and Queensland economies, and the reduced greenhouse gas emissions of CSG powered energy compared with coal-fired energy.
A section titled “The Facts” focuses on the reduced emissions of CSG and defends the fraccing process, while another section discusses how the industry is working with farmers to minimise impacts on agricultural operations.
The site has prompted a mystery group to develop a parody site which mirrors the We Want CSG website visually but contains very different messages.
The www.wewantcsg.org website replaces the catchphrase “We want CSG” with “Who wants CSG?”.
Images of CSG company workers and farmers in attractive rural settings from the original site have been transposed against backdrops of drilling machines and rural wastelands on the parody site.
Headlines such as “working with farmers” and “environmental benefits: more jobs for rural communities” have been adjusted to read “Working against farmers” and “Economic ruin: 50,000 Fukishimas Underground”.
In its list of “The Facts” the Who Wants CSG site catalogues of a list of environmental, agricultural and health impacts linked to CSG extraction.
At the bottom of the page the people behind the website borrow APPEA’s logo and acronym to call themselves the “The Australian Parody Production and Exploration Association”.
The APPEA webstie We want CSG can be viewed by clicking here
The Who Wants CSG website can be viewed by clicking here