NYT Letters: Concerns About the Safety of Drilling

by Duane Nichols on December 27, 2012

Concerns About the Safety of Drilling

NEW YORK TIMES, December 25, 2012

To the Editor, New York Times:

In “Sending Natural Gas Abroad” (editorial, Dec. 16), you write that environmental concerns about fracking for gas should be addressed by tighter regulation, not by restricting exports. But the evidence shows that there is no amount of regulation that can make fracking safe.

Cement in wells many thousands of feet under the earth cracks and leaks under the great pressure and temperature changes. No one can be sent thousands of feet under the earth to make repairs once this happens.

Industry documents show that 6 percent of the wells leak immediately and that 60 percent leak over time, poisoning drinking water and putting the powerful greenhouse gas methane into our atmosphere.

We need to develop truly clean energy, not dirty water created by fracking.

YOKO ONO, New York, December 16, 2012, The writer is a co-founder of Artists Against Fracking.


To the Editor, New York Times:

Your editorial lauding the “benefits” of exporting liquefied natural gas misses the big picture. If President Obama approves more natural gas exports, it will mean more drilling and fracking for shale gas. This is inherently unsafe; the severe risks and costs of drilling and fracking can’t be regulated away. That is why over 120 public health, faith-based, environmental and consumer groups have united under the banner of Americans Against Fracking.

Moreover, the report that the Department of Energy is using to evaluate export proposals sweeps under the rug the public costs of more drilling and fracking, and insults us with the argument that the benefits enjoyed by the oil and gas industry and its financiers will trickle down. The fact is that L.N.G. exports will overwhelmingly benefit oil and gas corporations and their major shareholders, not most Americans, and especially not communities that will be economically ravaged by this destructive process.

WENONAH HAUTER & JIM DEAN, Washington, December 17, 2012, The writers are, respectively, executive director of Food and Water Watch and chairman of Democracy for America.


To the Editor, New York Times:

Your editorial neglects a third, much larger opposition group that has very little money to devote to the conflict over fracking. That is the affected people in about 30 states who live where it is going on.

The industry and its financiers have managed to paint this vast, largely faceless group as unworthy of notice. We are landowners, hunters, retirees and others who choose to live in rural areas. Apparently, personal injury, loss of clean air and water, and the long-term damage to rural industries like agriculture, forestry and recreation are not highly regarded.

The world needs to be thinking about future resources, not a decade or two of gas and profit.

S. THOMAS BOND, Jane Lew, W.Va., December 16, 2012. (Mr. Bond is a cattle farmer and member of The Guardians of the West Fork in Lewis County, WV).

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