Drilling for natural gas will soon be coming to Western Maryland, splitting camps into those who think it is no different than other industries and others with environmental concerns. (Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun video)

A recent letter to the editor headlined "Fracking must be banned" (Oct. 19) made for an interesting read.

However, the writer overlooked an important aspect of the debate on whether to allow for fracking in Maryland: Tourism jobs are low-paying jobs.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average wage for Garrett County is $38,000. Examining the data more closely, for the jobs that are most likely to be supported by tourism — servers, dishwashers and amusement and recreation attendants — the average annual wage is about $20,000, which equates to about $9.30 per hour.

Compared to the annual average wage for fracking jobs, which is about $70,000, it stands to reason that an increase in family-supporting, living-wage jobs produced by fracking would help rather than hinder the local economy.

Isaac Orr, Minneapolis, Minn.

The writer is a research fellow with the Heartland Institute.

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