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News Opinion Readers Respond

Fracking's risks greatly overstated

In a recent letter to the editor ("Fracking is not the answer for U.S. economy," May 7), David Wagenheim relies on outdated and previously debunked talking points in an attempt to convince readers that hydraulic fracturing harms groundwater, notwithstanding statements from organizations like the U.S. Department of Energy and the Ground Water Protection Council to the contrary. Even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency itself stood up this past year and tried to set the record straight on this claim, with former administrator Lisa Jackson telling reporters that "in no case" — not one — has the agency found hydraulic fracturing to have an adverse impact on drinking water.

Bizarrely, the author then attempts to suggest that the hundreds of thousands of jobs that have been created as a result of new shale development are essentially a mirage. That would certainly be news to states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and especially North Dakota, which today boasts the lowest unemployment rate of any state in the country. Last year, nearly one out of every nine new jobs created in the entire United States came from the oil and gas sector — even though the industry only operates in about half the states. Whether Maryland decides to move forward with responsible development in its western counties will ultimately be for the state to decide. But can we at least insist that that decision be made on the basis of good, actual, demonstrable facts?

Shannon Brushe, Catonsville

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