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NewsOpinionReaders Respond

Natural gas exports could prove costly

Energy ResourcesAlternative EnergyUniversity of Baltimore

I would like to respond to the recent commentary about liquefied natural gas by Dan Ervin ("Say yes to LNG," Nov. 14). Mr. Ervin is described as a "professor of finance at Salisbury University," and he writes from that point of view, but only in a one-sided way. In order to show both sides, we need a cost/benefit analysis that includes not just short-term profits some Marylanders could make, but also what the short and long-term costs would be for all of us.

Short-term costs include the financial cost to build infrastructure that could well be obsolete by mid-century, as renewable energy sources outpace carbon-based ones. But it's also important to look at where the natural gas is coming from — fracking. The risks and costs associated with fracking include drinking water contamination, land scarring, increased air pollution, and even earthquakes. Do we want to drill for gas in Maryland and destroy our communities only to ship the resource to China or elsewhere?

Another long-term cost is the impact that the LNG would have on our climate. Drilling, converting, shipping, and burning all emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The only way to minimize the impact of climate change is to decrease rather than escalate our dependence on carbon-based fuels.

These costs, if they occur, will be paid by those of us living now, but also by people born long after any profits have been made and spent. That is not what Maryland needs for its future.

To learn the truth about natural gas drilling and its consequences for Maryland, attend "Drilling Down: A Conference on Fracking Risks and Action in Maryland" at the University of Baltimore on Dec. 8. For details and to register, visit: http://mdfrackingconference.eventbrite.com/

Karie Firoozmand, Timonium

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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