Shale gas article neglected environmental impact

November 16, 2010

The Nov.16 Commentary piece by Mark Olsthoorn, "A sensible shale gas policy," was remarkable for what it omitted. After reading about Mr. Olsthoorn's work in the Netherlands on sustainability, I am flabbergasted that he managed to write a whole piece on extracting natural gas without once mentioning the unconscionably high price that comes with this "clean" energy. He mentions hydraulic fracturing without telling readers that the toxic stew pumped into the earth to unlock this gas is polluting the drinking water of millions of Americans. Even Wyoming, as industry-friendly a state as exists, has limited hydraulic fracturing because of the documented degradation of its ecosystem by this process.

Sadly, President Obama seems equally enamored of the "clean" natural gas fairy tale. We are likely to allow the unchecked expansion of this practice, as the recently elected Republican House majority will be even less likely than their Democratic predecessors to force a needed review of this practice.

Tim Eastman, Baltimore

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