Alan Jones's ongoing campaign on coal seam gas -- his Press Club speech yesterday was more or less a reheat of his extended railing on the issue on his radio program -- has produced more than just the unusual sight of a Greens-Jones unity ticket. One suspects, though, the Greens would have found Jones' complaint that fracking EISs lacked "peer review" ironic, since Jones generally prefers his climate science to have no peer review of any kind.
Australia isn't the only country where coal seam gas is causing deep disquiet, especially in rural communities. Far from it. It's a huge issue in the US, where protests continue in several states and particularly in New York State. There, a bitter debate over lifting a state ban on fracking prompted several municipalities to impose their own bans, with some dragged into court by mining companies, many of whom have aggressively litigated against any local government that has tried to regulate or ban coal seam gas development. Just like in Australia, there's deep anger and division about fracking in these communities (two weeks ago, I encountered a street corner fracking protest in a small upstate NY town, with "Honk if you hate fracking" placards drawing a merry cacophony of horns from the traffic).