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Natural gas no panacea [Letter]

People keep talking about how natural gas is cleaner than coal ("Natural gas is bring manufacturing back to the U.S.," March 17). Maybe it burns cleaner, but it's the process we're using to capture the gas that is the problem. The first step in hydraulic fracturing is to poison millions (yes, millions) of gallons of water to pump into the rock. There is no way to clean that poisoned water. The CEOs say there is, but the chemists whose job it is to clean it up are still trying to figure it out. They haven't succeeded. There have been cases where they got the gas out of the rock only to find they didn't have enough room to store it. So, they simply burned it off, wasting this finite resource. Yes, there is a limit to the natural gas on this planet.

There seems to be a race to see how fast we can get the natural gas out and how quickly we can sell it. No one is talking about what happens when it's all gone. What's next? No one is talking about the poisoned water we won't be able to drink or use to grow crops. This is extremely short-sighted. I think of Albert Einstein's observation, "I have faith in two things: gravity and the stupidity of the human race. And I have my doubts about gravity." We have no other planet to go to once we finish poisoning this one. Wake up!

Pat Harcarik, Baltimore

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