A colleague received a call last night from a market research firm, asking him how he thought things in the state he lives in were going.
However, it soon became clear what the survey was really about – coal seam gas (CSG) mining, which employs the highly controversial process of fracking.
Fracking (hydraulic fracturing) involves the use of sand, water and chemicals pumped under high pressure deep into the ground to fracture rock or coal seams to allow gas to escape and be collected.
Fracking certainly appears to have more than its fair share of environmental concerns to go along with it – see my post on Fracking Up The Water Supply, Fracking Earthquakes and More Fracking Earthquakes. Additionally, there are issues relating the polluting and commandeering of agricultural land and emissions from escaping gas.
In this colleague’s state last year, the government extended a moratorium on the fracking process used in coal seam gas extraction – until next month when I believe the issue will be reassessed. The general area where this colleague lives is a place the CSG crowd has their sights set on exploring and exploiting.
He told me that throughout the call, the survey company was asking very leading questions..
For example, some of the questions had multiple parts along the lines of “CSG will increase revenue for the state, is it good for the government to have more revenue so the state can progress?” And of course, there wasn’t much wiggle room for a detailed answer, just options from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”.
The interviewer also read out a list of the benefits of CSG, to which he could only respond similarly.
Various companies and environmental groups were named and he was asked if he was aware of them and if his impression of these organisations was good or bad.
I asked him if the word ” fracking” was mentioned at all throughout the entire ordeal and he stated, “not once”.
Quote: “They described CSG mining as basically washing the gas out of the coal with water and asked if I knew that.”
This colleague is well versed on fracking, so he said he was familiar with CSG mining and pointed out the person had failed to mention about the toxic chemicals used.
It really sounded like this market research company was engaged in a propaganda campaign rather than a real survey.
I’ve deliberately omitted the name of the company involved and some other details as I want to see if a headline such as “Survey: CSG Mining Viewed Favorably” type headline starts appearing around the place soon.
There is a lot of money tied up in the CSG industry – and far, far more to be made; so in some cases consideration for the environment and ethics are flying out the window. There is also the danger of the truth becoming increasingly flexible in regard to information concerning CSG and fracking; particularly in reports emerging from surveys commissioned by the industry.
If you’re reading survey reports stating a generally favourable view of CSG mining and fracking; it won’t hurt to be a tad skeptical of the information and how it was gathered.