12:30 PM EST, January 1, 2013
A recent editorial accused the oil and natural gas industry of hoping "the next administration will be less protective of the environment and the health of Western Maryland's residents," a claim supported by zero evidence ("No study, no fracking," Dec. 27).
Regulators from across the country have confirmed that developing natural gas from shale has not resulted in emissions levels that pose a threat to human health. Similarly, they note they have never once seen a confirmed case of hydraulic fracturing causing groundwater contamination.
Even Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson has stated that "in no case have we made a definitive determination that [hydraulic fracturing] has caused chemicals to enter groundwater."
Thanks to natural gas, carbon dioxide emissions in the United States are at their lowest level since the early 1990s. Increased natural gas utilization means fewer emissions of mercury, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides than would be emitted with other energy sources. Natural gas is the most efficient and cost-effective source of base-load power to support the growth of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.
The industry supports additional research, but the mountain of evidence already confirming the environmental benefits and safety of developing natural gas from shale should not be so casually dismissed.
Steve Everley, Washington
The writer is a spokesperson for Energy in Depth, a Washington-based advocacy group established by the Independent Petroleum Association of America.
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