Shale gas drilling is safe

February 16, 2011

Citing recent remarks from Pennsylvania's former Department of Conservation and Natural Resources secretary before a House of Delegates panel in Annapolis ("Go slow on shale drilling," Feb. 14), The Sun editorializes that "caution is in order" as it relates to the environmentally responsible development of job-creating natural gas extraction from Maryland's Marcellus Shale formation.

While The Sun rightly observes that the tightly-regulated production of abundant, clean-burning American energy — enabled by the 60 year-old energy stimulation technology called hydraulic fracturing coupled with horizontal drilling — "could prove a vital resource for this nation's energy future," the paper fails to inform readers that top Pennsylvania environmental regulators, as well as national independent environmental experts, understand that this production is environmentally proven and sound.

In fact, Gov. Ed Rendell's former Department of Environmental Protection secretary, John Hanger — who served as president and CEO of the environmental organization PennFuture — said the process is "safe in respect" to shale gas production in Pennsylvania. And in September, the non-profit group STRONGER (State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations) — made up of national environmental, industry and EPA experts — announced that Pennsylvania's industry-leading hydraulic fracturing regulation "merits special recognition."

Those are not one-off claims from the industry. Those are facts from independent environmental regulators.

Shannon Brushe, Catonsville

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