The company’s aim is to extract gas

I read with interest the front page story claiming that offshore coal was to be extracted from the borough’s coastline (News Guardian, April 3).

Reading the article, it became clear that there is no intention of extracting coal from under the sea bed.

A company, described in the story as a ‘clean energy company’, is going to drill a six-inch diameter borehole on the land and direct those boreholes out to sea to a depth of 350m to 3km.

It is not coal that the company aim to extract, its gas.

They are targeting the gas held in layers of coal and shale beneath the sea bed and describe this as an extension of what we, as a region, have been doing with coal mining.

But this is nothing like coal mining, this is fracking, plain and simple.

It’s one thing to start a debate on fracking so that all of the pros and cons can be debated, but to publish a wholly positive article about such a contentious form of energy production, even going so far as to disguise the fact it is even fracking (note that fracking is not mentioned in the article) does not present a balanced view.

Coal mining is part of the heritage of the north east so the suggestion that fracking is an extension of our heritage is an insult to the people of the north east.

And shale gas is a fossil fuel. Burning it releases carbon dioxide and therefore adds to global warming.

Describing the company as a ‘clean energy company’ is also wholly wrong.

I’m not going to enter the debate about whether fracking is right or wrong, but lets present the facts rather than hiding the issue behind a falsely positive story about restoring coal mining to the north east.

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