In his recent commentary, ("Say yes to LNG," Nov. 14) Dan Ervin does The Sun's readership a disservice by glossing over the risks of exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Maryland. Mr. Ervin ignores the fact that such exports will increase Marylanders' gas bills and impose serious health and environmental risks by driving up dangerous natural gas fracking.
Exporting LNG is the natural gas industry's solution to an unprecedented surge in domestic production. Faced with a glutted marketplace and always looking to increase profits, the industry is seeking to liquefy the gas and send it overseas from places like Cove Point.
Mr. Ervin enthusiastically calls this trend the "shale gas revolution." But this "revolution" is built upon methods of extraction that have devastating effects on public health and the environment. What's more, liquefying natural gas requires immense amounts of energy — so much energy that the production of LNG produces nearly as much dirty and dangerous carbon pollution as coal.
Natural gas companies have rushed to drill thousands of wells, indifferent to the consequences to the communities in which they operate, and for many of the families living near these wells, life has changed for the worse. Promising to pump money into local economies with payments to property owners and new jobs, natural gas companies have instead left communities with legacies of overburdened services, vastly reduced property values, and poisoned water.
Our nation's position as a potential exporter of natural gas has been achieved through the unwilling sacrifices of thousands of its communities. The "shale gas revolution" has produced more than natural gas: it has shattered lives, destroyed drinking water supplies, ruined livelihoods, and perpetuated our reliance on fossil fuels.
Exporting natural gas will only accelerate that destructive process — that's why the Sierra Club is fighting to stop the conversion of Cove Point into an LNG export terminal. Marylanders and Americans deserve better.
Richelle Brown, College ParkCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun