Form letter submissions dominate Tasmanian review

December 17th, 2014

The Tasmanian Government’s review into hydraulic fracturing is well underway, with the review team publishing more than 150 public submissions received in response to an issues paper that was released in November.

Dozens of submissions are based on a form letter presumably prepared by local environmental groups.

Such was the apparent enthusiasm to endorse a litany of false claims in the form letter that some submitters failed to even edit the document to remove redundant wording prior to sending the material.

The central, over simplistic contention of the replica submissions is astonishingly shortsighted – they all contain this statement:

“The best practice environmental and safety standard for hydraulic fracturing is to ban it”

As we pointed out last week in this post, that’s not best practice – that’s regulatory intervention to shut down an industry.

Many submissions, be they the form letters or other formats point to discredited reports by a range of US academics and ‘experts’ including Anthony Ingraffea, and Oswald and Bamberger.

A number of submissions even rely on the discredited Gasland film as their primary source of information and ‘facts’ about hydraulic fracturing, despite the film coming dead last in a recent survey of the most trustworthy sources of information about the practice

Claims hydraulic fracturing is relatively new also get an outing, despite the practice being used around the world for more than sixty years.

While the submissions make for entertaining reading, if only to refamiliarise yourself with the wild claims made by anti-industry activists, there is a bigger issue at stake here – the future of an industry in a State that needs an economic and employment boost.

As our colleagues at Energy in Depth have reported this week, the booming US shale industry has had a significant impact on the economy. The Tasmanian Government shouldn’t ignore this kind of empirical evidence in the face of an avalanche of form letters.

We’ll leave the last word to another submission, which calls for an examination based on fact, not fear:

“No submissions from people in furry animal suits. Public submissions in other parts of Australia have become a farce of street theatre. No songs or plays please. Evidence based material only”.

Couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

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