Just before the release of Gasland in Australia last year, I received an ‘information pack’ from a friend who worked in the coal seam gas industry. The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) were evidently expecting a big public response to the film and wanted to make sure they had all their answers straight.
The pamphlet starts with the following, catch-all statement:
… the film bears very little relevance to the USA gas industry and absolutely none to Australia’s
If you’d like to read the pamphlet for yourself, it can be downloaded here.
I find these types of preemptive media releases quite interesting. On one hand, the company doesn’t want to come out, guns blazing, denying allegations and trying to put out fires before they start. But on the other hand, it was quite likely that the public would have a strong response and it’s prudent for the industry to be prepared. I worry though, that such a proactive response ends up making the industry look ‘guilty’, like they recognise some truth in the allegations. Why else would they get so hot and bothered?
At the end of the day, I don’t think a plain brochure with facts and figures can compete with a documentary showing images of flammable water and sick animals. APPEA never had a chance.