Hancock too quick to dismiss risks of natural gas drilling

March 28, 2011

I appreciate your editorial support for offshore wind energy. However, Jay Hancock on the Business and Jobs page has it all wrong. He proposes natural gas as a solution while dismissing environmental concerns as relatively minor ("Stop O'Malley's offshore wind folly now, not later," March 27).

In fact, natural gas drilling is a serious environmental hazard in the areas affected by that drilling. Oil and gas industry lobbyists have eviscerated both the Clean Air Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act so that unsafe practices result in dangerous smog-including hydrogen sulfide in the area of the drilling and ground water polluted with carcinogenic chemicals and radioactive materials. These industries must be properly regulated to ensure safer practices. Natural gas could possibly be extracted safely, but will this really happen in our follow-the-money political environment?

Dan Rodricks is overly optimistic in his commentary about nuclear energy ("Despite Three Mile Island and Fukushima, nuclear is still the way to go," March 27). Can "our brightest engineers and scientists" attain a sufficiently high level of safety? Again, the answer is possibly. But the costs are probably daunting. If you accept the risks, then a cost analysis would be needed to compare the price of building new nuclear power plants vs. offshore windmills.

Thinking of the future of succeeding generations leads me to the conclusion that Gov. Martin O'Malley is right. We need to sacrifice now and invest in the future with a Maryland offshore wind farm.

Eva Shidle, Ellicott City

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