Muddying the (CSG) waters
LAST Saturday, Echo sleuth Mick Daley was out at Doubtful Creek to see what was happening on the frontline of the anti-CSG movement. As he was walking along Knights Rd he noticed several puddles of water were bubbling.
Being a thoroughly modern journo, he whipped out his iPhone and took a few seconds of video and later posted it on The Echo's Facebook page.
It went viral.
As of Tuesday afternoon, almost 17,000 people had looked at the bubbling puddles.
The implication was that Metgasco's CSG drilling had somehow released methane into the water table and it was rising to the surface.
We've all seen the footage in the film Gasland of people lighting their taps and bores, and here was possible proof of it happening here.
But as Kevin Rudd keeps telling everyone, it's time to take a cold shower people.
Mick brought back a sample of the water in a plastic container for testing and we marched it down to Richmond Water Laboratories on Monday morning. But it seems that to test for methane or other gasses, you need special glass bottles, full to overflowing.
Meanwhile the comments on Facebook were going through the roof. Amateur hydrologists everywhere were explaining how during heavy rain periods, air was pushed up from underground, hence the mysterious bubbles.
Others tried unsuccessfully to light the bubbling puddles.
It seems methane was unlikely to be the culprit.
There were accusations that we had acted improperly by posting the video and could actually damage the credibility of the movement.
Well, Mick didn't say anything in the video other than where he was and what he was seeing.
Take a cold shower people.
Yes, we definitely have a responsibility to report truthfully and accurately and I don't think we breached that responsibility by posting the video on Facebook. There is a huge public interest in the issue and if the bubbles had turned out to be methane, you can bet there would have been extensive reporting about it in here, and all over the local and national media.