Why this is important
In North East England, licences have already been issued for off-shore Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) – although there might be fracking and other forms of extreme energy as well.
But a number of UCG experiments around the world have failed, closed down because of environmental pollution e.g. in the USA at Taylorville, Illinois and Hoe Creek, Wyoming, in Australia at Bloodwood Creek and near Kingaroy (where benzene and toluene ended up in the groundwater and fat of cattle).
UCG is still experimental and tests have never before been run near large centres of population. High volumes of highly contaminated water will need to be disposed of (into the sea?), and there is the danger of polluting aquifers. The seepage of noxious gases into the atmosphere is inevitable, the process once started is extremely difficult to stop, and that the dangers of subsidence are far greater than for ordinary mining, with potential for earthquakes. Also an uncontrolled coal fire accidently set off could spread inland (see Centralia in Pennsylvania).
Such pollution off-shore in the North East, let alone the industrialisation of the coast-line, could have dire consequences for the re-vitalised fish and tourist industries, whilst like elsewhere in the world, house prices near drillings are bound to crash. And such extreme energy methods will make it impossible for the government to reach its carbon emissions targets, and released methane will accelerate climate change.
There is of course the carrot of job creation – but if the same amounts of money were to be invested in renewable energies – which surveys have shown a majority of the public prefer – and/or home and public building insulation, there would be far more new jobs, fewer environmental concerns, and beneficial consequences for global warming.
A growing number of concerned citizens are beginning to realise the dangers of fool-hardy experiments such as UCG, and you are invited to check out the Facebook site Frack Free Tyne & Wear and North East Extreme Energy Awareness Group amongst others.
Sign the petition here (link).