The desire for the Polish people to limit any kind of dependence on neighboring Russia or Germany is perfectly understandable. In his Jan. 6 Forum article, "Poland Dreams of Shale," Dimiter Kenarov describes the possibility of Poland reducing its reliance on Russian natural gas with its own hydro-fractured gas.
We sincerely hope that the Polish decision-makers will take a very careful look at our experience of shale gas drilling in Western Pennsylvania. We would encourage the Polish people to wait until the potential for ground water pollution and toxic air emissions associated with shale gas drilling are fully and objectively understood. We would also hope that the Polish regulatory agencies would ensure that the chemical contents of the fracking fluids are made easily available to the public, that local authorities have the right to exclude drilling from certain areas, that adequate and sustainable water supplies are available, and that all the produced wastewater is restored to pre-use purity.
To help the Polish people and elected officials avoid the dangers of the drill-at-all costs approach, a Polish-language version of the movies "Gasland" and "Promised Land" may be useful. Who knows, the Poles may opt for a sustainable "green-energy-based" economy and set an example for us to follow.
PETER J. WRAY
The writer is chair of the conservation committee of the Sierra Club's Allegheny Group.